In London‘s ever mutable dining scene, where change seems to be the only constant and there‘s always another new restaurant shouting for attention, and sometimes at the expense of quality, it‘s reassuring that trusted, venerated institutions in London continue to persist in attracting a devoted following by serving unrelentingly innovative gastronomy in a sophisticated setting. The Greenhouse, a modern European restaurant nestled away in a Mayfair Mews, is one such restaurant. Operated by the MARC group (Morton‘s, A Voce, Umu), The Greenhouse has retained its Michelin-starred status since winning the accolade in 2004. In addition to serving as an ad hoc culinary academy for a slew of now famous chefs, it has garnered a devoted following of well-informed diners, journalists and oenophiles alike.
The Greenhouse derives its name from its entryway. Offering a rare verdant haven of greenery in the heart of Mayfair, diners will access the restaurant by traversing a tasteful decked walkway flanked on either side by an ante-garden with lush thickets of bamboo and stone artworks from British sculptor Emily Young. The experience of tranquillity is transported into the dining room, with miniature sculptures on each table, the utilisation of slate, marble and wood in the muted colour palette, and pale green colours in the furniture and walls.
While the setting deserves attention for its meticulous planning, the food and wine is the main event. Following a stint at the three starred Le Bristol in Paris, Executive Chef Arnaud Bignon won his second Michelin star at Spondi in Athens at the tender age of 32, and brings a palpable level of excitement to the Greenhouse. Splicing a grounding in traditional French training with a pioneering attitude towards flavour combinations and harmony of ingredients, both his a la carte offerings and tasting menus have won the hearts of critics.
We highly recommend the tasting menu, which changes according to the season in conjunction with Chef Bignon‘s creativity. When we last visited, highlights from the meal included a deliquescent pan-seared foie gras bedded down in a deep set bowl alongside tomato, raspberry and Malabar pepper as well as Brixham line-caught sea bass served with crispy strips of julienned polenta served with yuzu atop a nest of Chlorophyll herbs. Each dish on the menu was consummated with a masterful selection from the sommelier, which brings us to the wine list. If you possess a passion for the grape, there is no better place to satiate it than The Greenhouse, which is known to have one of the most enviable collections of rare wines in the capital, and often at prices that undercut wine shops. This includes a double magnum of Château Lafite Rothschild 1er Grand Cru Classé from 1959, which costs a tidy £15,500, and will certainly suit for the most special of occasions - the end of the world perhaps!
We‘re very happy to welcome The Greenhouse as one of Innerplace‘s restaurants. It‘s the perfect setting to celebrate a special occasion or impress a significant other, and while the food is ineffably elegant and precise, the service manages to strike the difficult balance of remaining unstuffy and convivial.