27A Hay's Mews
Expect a legendary list comprising liquid history at the serene Greenhouse, which now has a sensational new chef at the helm of the naturally lit kitchen.
Beautiful two-Michelin-starred dishes by Alex Dilling
Unique bottles and magnums with patina
The Greenhouse preserves an astonishing collection of bottles, including: Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1966, Penfolds Grange 1961, Salon 1959, Musar 1956, Cheval Blanc 1949 (magnum), Calon-Ségur (magnum) 1945, Marqués de Murrieta Ygay 1935, Romanée-Conti 1929, d’Yquem 1928, Pétrus 1928, Margaux 1924, Franz Karl Schmitt Niersteiner Fläschenhahl 1921, Latour 1900 (magnum), Massandra Kagor Prince Golitzin Lacrima Christi 1896, Málaga PX 1890, Lafite 1870, and Tokaji Essencia 1866…
In total, sommelier, Elvis Ziakos, who has a fine collection of Prince of Wales checked suits, oversees more than 3,400 bins at this leafy, luxurious haven, amassed with patience and strategy. To an innocent bystander, such a venerable list may appear intimidating. However, Ziakos has humility, and aside from the aged icons starring on his list, there is plenty of interest even sub £50 a bottle, and even the odd bargain, such as Sine Qua Non’s Stripes and Stars rosé, which is cheaper here than retail.
Born into a “gastronomic” family, Ziakos who is Greek and has performed in the Best Sommelier of the World competition for his country, recalls his father, “bringing back frogs’ legs and wild boar.” One of his favourite hobbies is history. “Etymologically, the word ‘gastronomy’ is derived from the Ancient Greek, ‘gastḗr’ (stomach) and ‘nomos’ (‘laws that govern’). Thus, “the art or law of regulating the stomach,” he says.
Ziakos chose to study the culinary arts when he was 16, working in every aspect of a restaurant including the kitchen from the age of 17. In total, he has spent a quarter of a century “on the floor.” Like fellow leading Greek wine professional, Terry Kandylis of 67 Pall Mall, Ziakos describes himself as having become “a great head waiter before becoming a sommelier, to learn service properly.”
Of the Adonis of a chef, Alex Dilling, in the role since August 2018, Ziakos says, “without the chef, we can’t sell wine,” adding, “in Greece, wine and food are like a wedding!” Dishes by the London born, USA raised and American of accent, Dilling are probably the prettiest in London, and Ziakos refers to their style as “purity of richness”. Dilling, who is formerly of Alain Ducasse at Adour, New York, and Hélène Darroze, London and internationally, notes The Greenhouse was his grandfather’s favourite London restaurant.
Ziakos accurately mentally deduces food and wine matches initially, choosing ferment which accentuates and curls around elements of a dish rather than simply cutting through with piercing acidity. Standout matches may include escabeche (which Ziakos says is “French for ceviche”) of mackerel, Granny Smith apples, pickled carrots cut into the shape of leaves and fennel-infused coriander oil with a juicy, “Molton Brown” and beeswax-scented, relatively gently-priced Mosel Riesling. (Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt (Kaseler Nies’chen Kabinett, 2014),
Similarly, made by Alex Gambal, the offspring of a car park entrepreneur in Washington DC, organic, “higher altitude” St. Romain, an appellation which one merchant describes as having an “off-Broadway address,” brings floral perfume to a passion flower-esque dish of tender white asparagus with razor clam velouté and cockle roes.
Lavender scented squab for two with thoroughly truffled claws may be matched with a Côte-Rôtie by Patrick and Christophe Bonnefond (Colline de Couzou), which Ziakos describes as having scents of, “salami, black olive, wild berries and violets – being silky despite the extreme heat the Romans encountered in Côte-Rôtie.”
Ziakos also embraces sweet wines such as Macaulan Torcolato from Breganze, which “can be the greatest sweet wine in the world,” he says, and Santo Wines’ Vinsanto from Santorini, featuring grapes reaped from pre-phylloxera wines. “Sweet wines were born in the South Aegean sea!” he says. “There’s no other region with such consistency.”
Exceptionally finely tuned, The Greenhouse is part of Lebanese restaurateur, Marlon Abuela’s classy portfolio, which also comprises Kyoto inspired UMU, The Square, members’ club Morton’s, Marc Patisserie and Bakery and OW Loeb fine wines.
By Douglas Blyde.
Sommelier and wine judge, Elvis Ziakos oversees circa 3,500 bins at Mayfair’s Greenhouse, a sharp restaurant owned by Marlon Abela along with The Square, Umu and Morton’s club. ‘Our gastronomic identity focuses on the great region of Burgundy!’ says Ziakos of the invincible list, built with patience and strategy, ‘from the simplicity of Mâcon, to Chablis from Raveneau, Jean-François’ Coche-Dury and Comte Lafon, with reds lead by the great names such as Armand Rousseau, Domaine Dujac, Sylvain Cathiard and the sumptuous Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.’ Ziakos further enriches the list, which runs to more than 120 pages, with distinctive and consistent producers from the rest of the world, ‘such as Château Yvonne from the Loire Valley, Veyder-Malberg from Wachau, and David & Nadia Sadie from Swartland of South Africa, who, through their wines, are placed in the pantheon of the world’s greatest producers.’ He adds: ‘and of course, we can offer 35 vintages of Penfolds Grange reaching back to 1961…’
Ziakos feels both ‘privileged’ and ‘lucky’ to work at The Greenhouse, ‘delivering epicurean excellence.’ His memorable recent sips have included: Leroy Montrachet 1969, Leroy Château Palmer 1959, Penfolds Grange 1971, and ‘several vintages of Pétrus including 1982…’
Born in Greece, Ziakos studied at Le Monde Institute, working as head sommelier at the coastal Kohylia restaurant at Grand Resort Lagonissi followed by Spondi in the city, before moving to London to join the team at Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley. ‘I have won many awards as a sommelier, including representing Greece at the Best Sommelier of the World competition,’ he says.
Dishes by Arnaud Bignon, who trained under Eric Fréchon of the three Michelin-starred Le Bristol in Paris, and, like Ziakos, also worked at Spondi, may include, from the tasting menu, veal sweetbread with pineapple, black sesame and ginger, then brill with onion, banana, kaffir lime and dukkah, or from the set lunch, piglet tandoori with pak choi, carrot and lemongrass, followed by kiwi, bergamot and buttermilk, possibly with Massandra Ukranian sweet wine, for a taste of history.
By Douglas Blyde.
This supermodel of a collection is curated by sommelier Elvis Ziakos. On it, cool oceans of Chablis include a startlingly large François Raveneau vertical, which would add citrus zip to classically-trained chef Arnaud Bignon’s subtly Asian-influenced, French-rooted dishes, including wild turbot with golden matcha tea and cauliflower.
Burgundy listings are, overall, eye-poppingly exciting, with older vintages of these and iconic Bordeaux being in plentiful supply. The huge listing of Penfolds Grange dating to 1961 must be one of the largest in existence.
A list that struts with its chest puffed out and head held high – pretty much peerless.
Glass from : £ 13.50 (175 ml)
27A Hay's Mews
Most Recent Stories
Bollinger is to use oak harvested from its own forest in the Côtes des Blancs to ferment the juice from this year’s vintage.
Founded in 1964 by theatre agent Daphne Rye, Chelsea-based Italian restaurant Daphne’s is marking 55 years with a series of special events, collaborations and one-off dishes.
François Pinault and Bernard Arnault, two of France’s leading businessmen and owners of several top estates in Bordeaux and Burgundy, have pledged €300 million between them to fund repairs of Notre-Dame de Paris, while coopers have said they will source the best oak trees for new beams.
Guardian columnist Jay Rayner has changed his views on the British sparkling wine industry, after previously slamming the category for offering poor value for money.
Chefs and restaurateurs Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke have appointed Albert Blaize as sommelier and beverage director for their two restaurants, St Leonards and Brunswick House, as well as the recently opened Orasay in Notting Hill.