In Greece, the Ergon chain of deli-restaurants are spacious, airy affairs, with vast communal tables, sumptuous displays of olives and streaming sunshine. This is something that doesn’t quite translate to London – not even this petite prime location next to Selfridges. Put up with the squeeze, though, and there’s lots to like: sleek industrial-chic design, a basement deli full of beautifully packaged Greek artisan products, and a kitchen overseen by Athenian celeb-chef Dimitris Skarmoutsos.
It has been a lightning-fast hit with the capital’s homesick Greeks: there was a full (and almost entirely Hellenic) house for lunch on our visit. There’s an all-Greek wine list, mojitos made with chios mastiha liqueur, and a modern mezédes menu (all of which is designed to be shared) that’ll banish memories of day-glo meze dips forever.
Squid was grilled until perfectly tender, while a dish of fava (yellow split pea) purée topped with cured pork was satisfyingly smooth and smoky. A modern take on the classic saganáki (oat-rolled naxos gravièra cheese with rose petal syrup) looked great but was served far too cold. The flavoursome crunch of a simple Cretan-style barley rusk salad went some way towards making amends.
The Athenian café-culture vibe here lends itself more to an informal lunch or post-splurge evening snack than a long, leisurely dinner, but either way Ergon is another bold step forward for Greek cuisine in the capital.