The family behind London dining establishments including Roka and Zuma goes Greek this summer with a new opening in Fitzrovia. Luxury London sits down to dinner.
The Waney family has been on the London restaurant scene for around 15 years, during which time they have opened the likes of Zuma, Roka, Coya and Oblix at The Shard, as well as acquired and renovated The Arts Club. With a string of restaurants that are on the lips of most Londoners, expectations are high as I arrive at the latest addition to its portfolio in Fitzrovia – Greek restaurant and bar, Meraki.
We are greeted by a lithe receptionist at the front desk, dressed in a sleek full-length jumpsuit – the creation of Athens-based designer Yvonne Bosnjak – who shows us to a table with stylish tan leather chairs by the open patio doors. It is the perfect set-up for a warm evening.
Meraki clearly isn’t expecting a carb-loving crowd; a starter of tzatziki with fresh strands of cucumber is accompanied by a somewhat meagre helping of four pitta chips. I resemble Oliver Twist as I hold up our empty bowl for more.
Undeterred, we continue to order from the meze section, balancing the simpler Florina peppers with garlic cream and puffed polenta crackers with a richer dish of Trahana – a type of grain often used in porridge or soup – cooked with spinach, and topped with an impressively orange egg yolk. A plate of sizeable prawns in a kataifi pastry shell that resembles Shredded Wheat, follows and is similarly well presented.
Native ingredients are key to Greek chef Dimitri Siamanis’ menu, which includes cheeses from Naxos and Crete, and hilopites (a traditional egg pasta) from Trikala. The commitment to locally sourced produce extends to the drinks menu; I’m now a convert to Greek fizz, and the cocktails – based on the elements of earth, air, fire and water – come infused with marjoram and coastal kritamo.
There are meat and fish meze options too, including smoked eel and meatballs, but we save ourselves for the grill section of the menu and order succulent baby chicken with lemon and oregano and chargrilled lamb cutlets, marinated with rosemary. The British potato lover in me is gratified by the side of patates with wild oregano, which are better seasoned and crispier than any I’ve had with a Sunday roast of late.
A chocolate and hazelnut dessert with sour cherry sorbet – my new favourite flavour – wraps up the evening. Meraki certainly isn’t your average taverna, and at times the setting does seem a little formal for the rustic Greek fare, but there’s no doubting the authenticity of the flavours – just remember to ask for extra pitta.