Nestled in the heart of the affluent London district of Belgravia, amongst the rows of terraced stucco townhouses, pretty garden squares, luxury hotels and quaint furniture stores, there’s a new kid in town for foodies, and Ganymede – the hottest new dining spot on the block – is fast making a name for itself thanks to its cosy atmosphere and unequivocally tasty food.
Named after the largest moon of Jupiter, the name of this trendy new spot gives a nod to Greek mythology, in which a Trojan aristocrat kidnapped by Zeus while the King of Gods was in the form of an eagle, and who was taken to the top of Mount Olympus to become the wine pourer and cup-bearer to the gods for all eternity, also went by the same name. The name also acknowledges the restaurant’s previous incarnation – the Ebury Wine Bar – which was an institution of its time and was beloved amongst wine enthusiasts from far and wide.
Now, as part of the Lunar Pub Company umbrella – which was so named to honour the romantic connection between the night sky and frivolity – Ganymede focuses on serving up fine wines and decadent food in a modern twist on the classic British pub, and does so in such a way that you can’t help but leave eager to come back for more.
Headed up by business partners Hubert Beatson-Hird and Oliver Marlowe, suffice it to say this latest venture has a wealth of experiences behind it, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that it has come together so nicely. Beatson-Hird has been in the hospitality industry for the past twelve years, with his repertoire including catering private events, managing late night venues and launching various pubs in the Fulham area. Marlowe, meanwhile, brings with him over two decades of working in the kitchen at a number of notable establishments – so together, they make for the perfect partnership.
And, with head chef Daniel Mertl – who has held top positions in a number of notable kitchens including Noizé, Chez Bruce and The Glasshouse – leading the kitchen and operating this well-oiled machine from behind the scenes, it’s truly a recipe for success. Here, exceptional British cuisine and a show-stopping line-up of ever-changing specials making up the order of the day, with everything presided over by Mertl’s watchful eye to ensure unwavering quality, and it’s clear that his own star-studded experiences across the capital have stood him in good stead for the challenge.
Having begun his London cooking career back in 2001, Daniel’s first role commenced when he landed a ‘second commis second’ role at prestigious and opulent city hotel, The Savoy, which has earned a reputation over the years for serving up some of the very finest food in the capital. This initial foot in the door saw him go on to work in a variety of different culinary environments, but it is perhaps his time spent working in Michelin-starred kitchens that has seen him develop a real finesse in his craft.
Citing the simple yet extraordinary food of French-born Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse as his inspiration, today he has become a master at serving up dishes that reflect both – and at Ganymede, his finely-honed skills in the kitchen are perfectly showcased in a wonderfully comforting and beautifully presented menu of British-inspired delights.
Guests can make themselves comfortable in one of the restaurant’s velvet green banquette boosts, settling in over a cocktail from the inspired and extensive cocktail list as they peruse the varied menu. The atmosphere is cosy, exuding laid-back luxury, and with a host of enticing dishes featuring delicious fresh, local produce, it’s impossible not to feel spoilt for choice.
Stand-out starters include a rich foie gras and chicken liver parfait with white wine jelly and toasted brioche, and baby artichoke with charred shallot salad, burrat frisée, truffle and hazelnuts, while seafood lovers can delight in the scallop ceviche with whipped avocado, pickled ginger and ponzu dressing.
During our recent visit to the restaurant, we were impressed by the mouth-watering mains, enjoying a decadent feast of cured halibut with jalapeno, yoghurt dressing, pickled cucumber and lamb’s leaf, and the crisp suckling pork belly with parsnip puree, pommes cocotte and turnips.
The former was a flavourful juxtaposition of light and delicate tastes and textures with the more punchy and powerful, making for an unusual combination and a true taste sensation. As for the pork belly, the wonderful contrast in textures between the crisp yet juicy meat and the softness and creamy earthiness of the vegetables was simply to die for, with full stomachs all round and not a scrap of food left on our plates afterwards.
Of course, a truly sumptuous meal must always be rounded off with a decadent dessert, and the rich chocolate fondant, served with crème fraiche sorbet, caramel and hazelnut, simply didn’t disappoint. The classic fondant might not be a new concept, but it takes great skill to get one just right, and this was one of the best we’ve tried in some time. Soft and spongy on the outside with a satisfyingly melting middle, it was rich and sumptuous in both texture and taste – a must, should you happen to visit.
The food, of course, was all washed down with a selection of perfectly fine wines, expertly recommended and selected by the knowledgeable waiting staff, and given the venue’s previous incarnation, it seemed rather fitting.
Ganymede may look unassuming from the outside, but inside, it’s a foodie’s dream. So, if you’re looking for a cosy and comforting dining experience that is equally stylish and inspired, then look no further than this Belgravia bolthole, which is certain to leave you eager to book your next table and come back soon for more.
Address: 139 Ebury St, London SW1W 9QU
Phone: 020 3971 0761
All imagery credit: Lateef Photography.