The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse can lift even the gloomiest of days

MOST POPULAR

The Greenhouse is one of those rather gorgeous and terribly important London restaurants that it’s easy to forget about. Tucked away at the back of what looks like a tranquil churchyard, in a quiet residential mews within the most moneyed triangle of Mayfair, close to Annabel’s, Mount Street and most of the capital’s embassies, this isn’t a place that you pass by chance. But it’s been a thriving, deeply chic, destination dining room since restaurateur Marlon Abela (Morton’s Club; Cassis; Umu etc.) revamped it in 2003.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

We’d actually forgotten about the Greenhouse ourselves. We had the most wonderful lunch there, a couple of years ago, and been much taken with the light and refined French dishes and what we thought was one of the prettiest rooms in the centre of town. With lots of glass and sunshine and outside greenery, it feels like a dreamy, posh afternoon in the countryside. On a particularly dismal Tuesday evening recently, during a downpour and the most depressing of storm-cloud gloamings, chef Antonin Bonnet had his work cut out to lift the spirits… But lift them he did.

MOST POPULAR

We opted for the full nine yards, Bonnet’s tasting menu – five savouries and two sweets and a variety of refreshers and fancies to keep the theatre going. Oh, and of course, wine pairings. Wine is something that the Greenhouse does spectacularly well. It can justifiably show off: it’s one of only four restaurants in the world to win the Wine Spectator Grand Award every year since 2005, and the sommelier here has sorcerous knowledge as well as charm.

The food all comes in various degrees of studied excellence, from braised snails in nettle soup to roasted pigeon breast with pomegranate. A starter of apple cider marinated mackerel with horseradish was as sharp as a tack, and a great salvo from Bonnet’s kitchen. And the menu changes according to season. None of the ingredients are flying long-haul. Unusually there’s also a vegetarian tasting menu, and as a mark of how refreshingly unstuffy and jovial the place is, you can mix and match. But everyone has to have the raspberry sorbet with vanilla foam and the Snix, a deconstructed Snickers. Although – and apologies to those born after around 1985, you’ll have to Wikipedia it – we still rather wish they’d called it a Marathon.

The ELLEuk Score

Food: 9

Ambience: 8

Service: 9

Value: 8

Style of food: Classical French with a contemporary twist

Good for: pre-theatre; special occasion; first date; romantic; group dinner; work lunch/dinner

Book a table at The Greenhouse on Toptable

Or see all our restaurant reviews

Prices and Other Details at The Greenhouse

Address: The Greenhouse, 27a Hay’s Mews, London W1J 5NY

Opening times: 12pm-2.30pm Mon-Fri; 6.45pm-11pm Mon-Sat

Average price per person for two-course meal without wine: £65

Set menu: £29 (three-course lunch); £90 (tasting menu)

Price of bottle house wine: £32, Domaine Chiroulet 'terres blanches', Côtes de Gascogne (white); Chateau Marjosse, Bordeaux (red)

Price of glass house wine: £8, as above

Price glass house champagne: £13.50, Beaumont de Crayères Comte Stanislas

Price bottle house champagne: £68, as above

Private dining? Room for 10

Outside dining? No

Bar? Yes. For non-diners

Best tables? By the windows for lunch, in a corner by the bamboo on the backlit wall for dinner

Who goes? Impeccably groomed locals in Balenciaga and Roland Mouret

Nearest tube: Green Park

Read Next: