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Gaia Mayfair

The best of the Med in the heart of Mayfair

Over the millennia, Gaia, the primordial Greek goddess of all life, mother of the Titans and grandmother of the Olympian gods, has inspirited all sorts of artists, from poets to painters and even the odd philosopher. In this case, she moved Russian hospitality entrepreneur, Evgeny Kuzin and British-Nigerian, Chef Izu Ani – the driving forces behind Gaia Dubai, Monte-Carlo, Marbella, Doha and the recently opened Gaia Mayfair, in London.

Gaia revolves around the Greek-Mediterranean concept of food as a conveyor of love. The pleasure of sharing a meal with those you cherish; honouring ingredients that nature generously provides to all countries along the shores of the Mare Nostrum. As we walked in, we were captivated by a market-style counter (known as the Ice Market) overflowing with a vast array of produce from land and sea; a hint of the experience ahead of us. Large scallops, glistening John Dory, pink-stripped langoustines, shiny peppers, aromatic basil… I didn’t know where to look.

The smoothness with which everything runs proves how well-oiled this team is and what a great manager Nicolas Jaouen is – as if mind reading were at play. He was also in charge of the opening of Gaia Doha in 2022.

Two of the most popular starters in Gaia’s menu: on the left, Tuna Caviar; and on the right, Sea Bream Carpaccio.

The menu has plenty of small dishes that are perfect to share. Tuna Caviar – made with blue fin tuna, shallots and caviar – is presented on an olive cracker, one of Gaia’s most popular starters. As is the signature Sea Bream Carpaccio, served on the bone, sliced to mimic fish scales. It is accompanied by salt, lemon and three different extra virgin olive oils, one infused with lemon, another with mandarin and yuzu, and the third, with truffle. Our waiter, Andrea, demonstrated how best to eat it. The ritual consists of rubbing your fork on the lemon, before picking a slice of fish and lightly passing it over the salt to collect just a couple of crystals. Lastly, pour on a few drops of oil. His recommendation: start with the lemon and finish with the truffle. I don’t think I have ever eaten a better fish carpaccio; the meat firm and sweet, so fresh that it still tasted of the Med.

After our initial glass of Louis Roederer Collection 244, Reka, the sommelier, brought us a glass of crisp Gaia Monograph Assyrtiko 2022 – a white wine from the Peloponnese. It was light and fragrant, with a mineral character that complemented our raw fish and succulent Prawns Saganaki. These were served in a rich tomato, garlic and basil sauce; the kind you scoop with bread to wipe the plate clean.

Gaia’s Lobster Pasta (left) with cherry tomato sauce and Prawns Saganaki (right) with a tomato, garlic and basil sauce.

As I love red wine, I asked Reka to recommend something to pair with the Greek Style Meatballs, a comforting classic everyone enjoys. I particularly liked the balance of fresh mint, cumin and coriander in Gaia’s recipe. She brought us Gaia Agiorgitiko 2021, from Nemea, probably Greece’s most important red wine appellation. Silky-smooth with aromas of ripe berries and soft tannins. A discreet and elegant red that would go well with a wide range of dishes, including our Lobster Pasta; a whole tail of the delicious crustacean wrapped in linguini, coated with cherry-tomato sauce. It is as good as it sounds (I forgot to warn you, don’t come here if you are on a diet; the food is impossible to resist).

We continued to savour the wine with our grilled seabass, expertly carved by Andrea at the table with a flourish – we of the Mediterranean love a touch of theatre. I have rarely eaten better grilled fish, and when I have, it has always been by the sea.

Two of the irresistible desserts in Gaia’s menu: Filo Mille Feuilles with vanilla ice cream and pistachio powder; and Pistachio Halva, which is a bit like fudge, coated in chocolate.


By now, I was considering ordering a wheelbarrow to take me home rather than a taxi; a consideration that became an imperative when Andrea brought to the table Filo Mille Feuilles, a Gaia version of the classic French dessert, made with filo pastry, vanilla ice cream and pistachio powder. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but those are three things that I absolutely adore, and together they were heaven.

I now understand all the fuss my friends have made about Gaia in Dubai and Monte-Carlo. If the other restaurants are as brilliant as the one in Mayfair, they deserve every bit of praise.

Gaia also features a private members club downstairs, and a cocktail bar on the first floor. I look forward to telling you about both very soon.


54 Dover Street, London W1S 4NY

Tel. 020 3961 0000


Words: Julia Pasarón

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