Everything about Estiatorio Milos’ London outpost is perfect. This upmarket Greek restaurant takes up prime real estate on Regent Street, St James’s, and is set apart by its six huge windows shaded with black blinds and dressed in long drapes of white linen.
A baronial set of doors lead the way to a large, bright restaurant, a mezzanine floor houses a private dining room and cellar, along with a raw fish counter.
The iced fish counter has some impressive beasts and there’s a separate tank for lobster. Fish from Greece and the Mediterranean and some a little closer to home are delivered every day.
The restaurant itself is in a Grade II-listed building, which has benefited from a multi-million pound Crown Estate makeover. Spiladis employed the Montreal-based architect Alain Carle to transofrm the interior and he’s created a wonderful dining space full of light.
Mr and Me visited during lunch service and arrived at midday, just after the team briefing was coming to an end. By 1.30pm the restaurant was sending guests to the mezzanine floor. The Greek soundtrack became muted by the crackle of chatter from tables of corporate diners, families and women who lunch. By 2pm the restaurant was all but full.
Firstly, let me begin by saying that there are lots of seafood restaurants here in the capital, if you like your fish, then you’ll know where they are, but not many who have Greek fish. All Milos’ fish is delivered daily from Greece alongside classic Mediterranean fish and those a little closer to home. Depending on your choice of fish, you can have it grilled, fried, steamed or served raw.
We sat at table 24 perfect for my favourite game, restaurant watching. First up was a bread ceremony. A bowl of warm, chargrilled bread came with a waiter and a potted Oregano plant which was duly snipped and topped a generous drizzle of family olive oil. I began with a glass of Greek sparkling wine, perfectly dry with fine bubbles and a super nose of rose and honey. Imported Greek wines, chosen to match an exceptional a la carte list is as I expect.
You can eat well with their set lunch menu at £29.50, served from midday until 3pm, they guarantee that if you’re not served within an hour, the meal is free, aimed at those after a swift business lunch. Like a typical lunch eaten in Greece, it was a marathon and not a sprint and so we chose from the a la carte menu.
Thinly sliced and coated aubergine and courgette had been deep-fried and served with a wonderfully double-cream thick Tzatziki.
A beautifully vibrant Greek salad was full of chunks of ripe tomato, which tasted of tomato, slices of sweet red onion, cucumber, and olives crowned with a couple of hefty triangles of Dodoni feta. A generous drizzle of that oil again, incidentally made by the owner’s sister, really brought this wonderful dish together.
A visit to the ice bar revealed a delivery of Greek razor and white clams which we asked for steamed and served in a broth. Both were exceptional, although for me the broth was a little on the salty side. Mr couldn’t get enough.
It was time to pop the table sides, a little like the button on my waistband, so more food could be added without arm and elbow interruption.
Perfectly chargrilled octopus was one of the many highlights. A charred crunch moved through to soft fleshy octopus and when it was mixed with sweet white onions, puree fava beans from the volcanic island of Santorini, it was a forkful of heaven.
I was desperate to try a small fish called a Gopes and I’m glad I did. This rather ordinary looking silver fish had been simply grilled and was deceptively sweet and full of meat.
Sides of herb-sprinkled chips and a bitter green combination of Stamnagathi, Vlita, Dandelion arrived before a thin copper kettle.
Inside was a red Gurnard bathed in tomato sauce, chunks of potato and rustic rings of courgette, cooked in the traditional Aegean Kakavia style. Raised out and filleted in front of us, we were left with a sizeable bowl of rustic fish stew. No need for the sides.
Rustic yogurt with Thyme honey from Kythera and walnuts;
the lightest Loukoumades doughnuts the size of ping pong balls, drizzled in Thyme honey and topped off with shards of Aegina pistachios
and then … as if I haven’t eaten enough two scoops of ice cream arrive: one Baklava and one yogurt. Each bite tasted just like the layered filo and almond classic, with a gentle hint of honey and cinnamon.
A Greek coffee prepared in the traditional Hovoli, cooked on heated sand, was exceptional and helped kickstart my digestion.
Midday turned into 1pm, turned into 2pm and then almost 3pm and I was encouraged to stay for dinner service. I only had a few hours to kill and it was sorely tempting. For dinner service, the mezzanine raw bar is stocked with fish and shellfish and as the fish stock dwindles, it’s replenished until it runs out so you may not always be lucky if you book a late table.
From the charming security guard on the door to the huge welcome at reception and the wonderful waiting staff, I must single out Jason who was a remarkable member of staff, completely passionate about the food and making sure guests have the best experience they can.
Milos in Las Vegas is another fabulous restaurant but London has a little more style and class, a simple Greek Island in central London with me it’s number one fan.
Estiatorio Milos, 1 Regent Street, London, S14Y 4NR
+44 020 7839 2080