Gaia London Review: Made in Dubai Restaurant Wows in Mayfair with Mediterranean Fare

  • May 31, 2024
Gaia London Review: Made in Dubai Restaurant Wows in Mayfair with Mediterranean Fare

London's swanky Mayfair district just got a taste of the Aegean with the arrival of Gaia, a restaurant already adored by Dubai's foodies. Stepping into Gaia feels less like entering an exclusive venue and more like arriving at a welcoming friend's house - albeit a friend with impeccable taste in design.

The award-winning interior design blends modern touches with nods to Greek heritage. Think neoclassical features, pops of azure blue, and Hellenic statues lining the limestone walls. An ice market, fresh fish counter, and traditional wood oven greet you upon arrival, whetting your appetite before you even reach your table.

The large, open-plan dining room buzzes with energy, replicating the lively atmosphere of a Greek seaside taverna. Be prepared for friendly conversation to spill over from neighboring tables - in my case, what started as a dinner for two almost turned into a fun foursome! The attentive staff, though plentiful, can feel slightly overwhelming at times.

The menu, a collaboration between chefs Izu Ani and Orestis Kotefas, is a celebration of Greece's family-style dining and diverse landscapes. Sharing is highly encouraged, and with a menu that spans lobster and prawn pastas to lamb and rib-eyes, there's something for everyone.

My Mediterranean-inspired meal began with a delightful assortment of olives, baby tomatoes, grilled eggplant, and Eriki cheese. This was followed by the standout dish of the night: the velvety smoked cod roe with lemon zest and chive taramasalata. At £12, it's a steal, and the accompanying creamy, tarty, and truffle-infused olive oils elevate it to another level.

The sea bream carpaccio (£44) was another winner. Served at the perfect temperature, the melt-in-your-mouth fish needed no adornment, but the three flavored dipping oils added a touch of playful indulgence. The lobster salad (£36) was fresh but a touch bland. While the quality of the lobster was undeniable, a bit more punch in the dressing would have made it truly memorable.

The courgette tempura, a supposed crowd favorite, was a bit of a letdown. All crunch and very little substance, it would have been better to skip and save the calories for something else.

Redemption came in the form of the grilled sea bass. Perfectly cooked and boasting the freshest flavors, it had me dreaming of Grecian escapes. We finished the night with the filo mille-feuille, a light and delightful dessert featuring vanilla cream and pistachio powder.

Prices are on the steeper side, with appetizers ranging from £16-£38, vegetarian and meat mains from £32-£230 (seafood is priced by the kilo), and desserts between £14 and £30. However, for a special occasion or a taste of authentic Greek cuisine in a vibrant setting, Gaia is definitely worth considering.