The Greenhouse

Silver Award
18 Reviews
££££
Modern European

The Greenhouse
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SquareMeal Review of The Greenhouse

Silver Award

It has sported two Michelin Stars since 2004, so expectations invariably run high at The Greenhouse. However, the arrival of new head chef Alex Dilling (ex-Hélène Darroze at The Connaught) has taken the set-up to a different level. Of course, some things never change: the sense of Zen-like calm as visitors arrive at this Mayfair “oasis” via a beautifully landscaped garden; the spacious and light dining room, and the highly professional attitude of the staff. What felt notably different, though, was the buzz – it was encouraging to see almost every table occupied on a midweek evening.

 Dilling’s culinary approach involves sourcing the very best ingredients, combining them with an innovative flourish and presenting them beautifully. A super-soft yet deeply flavoursome smoked sturgeon mousse with crab and dill set the tone, and there were several high points to follow: we were bowled over by a breath-takingly original truffled egg concoction and a plate of Brittany turbot with boudin noir, girolles and young sorrel.

The vegetarian options also impressed, as did the wine pairings, drawn from one of London’s more voluminous lists (clocking in at 3,400+ bottles). On the downside, our A5 Gunma Wagyu beef was rather bland, and impatient diners may be troubled by the relatively long waits between courses. Still, The Greenhouse remains a bastion of serious fine dining – just be prepared to fork out handsomely.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
Modern European
Ambience
Fine dining, Quiet conversation, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
Two michelin stars
People
Special occasions

Location for The Greenhouse

27a Hay's Mews, London, London, W1J 5NY

020 7499 3331

Website

Opening Times

Mon-Fri 12N-2.30pm Mon-Sat 6.30-11pm

Reviews of The Greenhouse

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18 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

Experience a different twist to classic dishes
06 April 2018  
We really loved the look of Restaurant online and the oasis did not disappoint. Staff was very attentive and showed interest in our enjoyment of chefs food. Bread and amuse bouche fabulous We really liked some ot the 6 tasting menu courses, some less so,but that was down to preference not lack of excellent cooking. Seabass with avocado and coffee . I didn’t appreciate that flavour combination but my husband really liked it. We really enjoyed the lamb with artichoke course,Crab with cauliflower mousse was superb , also sweetbread was rather delicious. Loved coconut lychee dessert.
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Paul P

Stunning
05 February 2017  
Took a client here for lunch and whilst it wasn't humming, the service, the food and the overall ambience were exceptional. I will definitely be back. Great for clients and social.
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Paul A

What a disappointment!
01 September 2016  
Just over a year ago we raved about this restaurant, put it in our Top 20 and determined to return. What a disappointment our second visit turned out to be! The restaurant was full, but with the number of staff this should not have resulted in the almost frantic impression they gave as they rushed to and fro hardly ever looking for the signs from the diners and the state of the tables that mean something is required. There was just one exception to this, we believe his name was Nick, the sole front of house person it was possible to engage with. The sommelier took our wine order but, apparently because we didn’t go for one or more of the decent wines on the list at indecent prices, he abandoned us in favour of diners who ordered wines that needed decanting, even simply walking past as I poured a glass. Another example of staff doing things by rote rather than was the girl who assigned to pour our wine who kept wanting to move our Spanish white from the ice bucket to the table in a dining room that was certainly too warm for that. Then there was the noise level. No muzak was disturbing the ambience, but, unlike in Le Gavroche a couple of evenings earlier, it didn’t require loud music to make it obligatory for most of the other diners to have to shout at each other to make themselves heard, they just did it anyway and we felt quite battered by the time we left. Then there was the dress code; in our booking confirmation it states quite clearly that the restaurant “upholds a formal dress code at all times.” You wouldn’t have guessed it from the way the majority of the guests were attired and still allowed to enter the dining room, and we wondered whether this might have contributed to the Towie-like atmosphere. Then there was the food; it simply was not up to the standard achieved on our previous visit, and the à la carte dishes were insubstantial and not very good value for money. There were three canapés, a wasabi tartlet with celeriac, marinated arctic chard, and veal cubes arranged on a bric leaf, all of which were strikingly neutral. The amuse-bouche was a concoction of melon with a mozzarella mousse which was not to our taste. We had chosen fish from the menu, so it was quite appropriate to receive chef’s signature dish of picked Dorset crab topped with cauliflower purée and mint jelly and accompanied by a green apple espuma but not noticeably with the spices which last time had brought all the tastes successfully together. Our lobster dish was very pretty, the tail meat bathing in a lobster consommé, decorated with peanuts and peanut butter, pointless raspberry and charred bread shards; it tasted nice enough but deserved to be in a small plates service rather than a £95 three-course offer. The water-bathed turbot with seaweed butter, samphire and spinach smear was not the best we’ve ever had and again rather sparse on the plate. A lime panna cotta with mojito crisp and mojito sauce was fine, and we ended with a half cup of fresh mint tea each at £5 a throw. We looked at the photos of the dishes we were served last time, and this rather confirmed our feelings about the two meals. For us the total restaurant experience at The Greenhouse was simply not worthy of its high ranking in the major guides and it is no longer in our Top 20.
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Ms/Mrs. Julie R

Absolute bliss
08 June 2016  
"Are we really in central London" the Bloke asked once we were seated with glass of champagne in hand, ready to enjoy our gourmet lunch in the cocoon like interior of the Greenhouse. Whilst not as bright and airy room as perhaps I had imagined it was nonetheless, a gorgeous and peaceful environment that felt a million miles from the bustle outside. Service was unhurried, professional and engaging, immediately putting you at ease; they wear their two Michelin stars with absolute comfort and discretion here. The lunch set menu was an absolute joy and with half a bottle of wine included is a steal at £55 a head. As this was a special occasion meal we did stray off piste a little but the additional cost for the cheese course was worth every penny - absolute care was taken to understand our preferences and when it was discovered that we had not been given any of their very special Comte, that was quickly rectified and really made us feel like valued guests. The additional wine with our cheese did bump the bill considerably, but again, time and care was taken to ensure we had something to match our tastes. Overall an absolute delight and we will definitely return.
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Paul A

Up there with the best
27 July 2015  
There are restaurants where you pay the bill and weigh up whether it was value for money, and there are others where you leave with a contented smile on your face just congratulating yourself on having made such a good choice for a meal, and as we rushed through the deluge from the restaurant door to the taxi we were already agreeing that The Greenhouse is unquestionably one of the latter. An oasis of quiet in busy Mayfair, the dining room is clean-cut and decorated in an unfussy manner although with an eye to detail, such as the individual mini-sculptures on each table and the display of decanters, the smooth service is perfectly balanced between formal and relaxed, the excellent sommelier is full of nice touches and clearly not one of those who feels threatened by any customer with some knowledge of what he is drinking, and the staff in general demonstrated a surprising understanding of the English sense of humour. The impression is that this all stems from the chef, the talented Arnaud Bignon, whose classical yet innovative cooking completes the impressive experience. There was a choice of two tasting menus, and given that one of them listed three of our top favourites for the first three courses there was little argument about which to take. Interestingly, there was also a choice of wine pairings, a 'modern' with wines from a number of countries and a 'classic' with just French sources. My wife selected the modern as it was one glass lighter, and for me the classic announced itself as one of the best I've had anywhere, from Krug to Ch Rieussec via Fèvre Grand Cru Chablis, Zind Humbrecht Rangen de Thann Riesling, Liger-Belair Moulin-à-Vent and Domaine de Trévallon. Hors classe! Three types of home-made bread were served and the olive version was so good we talked about taking some home. Very good canapés followed, smoked beef tartare with anchovy, quinoa crisp and crème fraîche with a sprinkle of dill powder, and a carrot mousse-filled tartelette spiked with coriander. Just the job to set up the palate for the first course, we thought. But not so - another canapé arrived sporting apple foam with chunks of green apple, avocado, lemon grass and radish, which definitely stimulated our appetites and our anticipation of the dishes to come, and we still hadn't got to the amuse-bouche, which added a further favourite to the meal - chef's signature dish of lovely picked crab beneath cauliflower purée and mint jelly with a green apple espuma and spices which started quite neutrally but quickly all the tastes came together in one delicious whole and made a mind-blowing match with the Krug. On then to the first starter, a generous serving of top-class scallops enhanced by yuzu, verbena oil, samphire and green zebra tomato seeds. We never need any encouragement to dive into lobster, but sometimes an intelligent tweak to its natural attractiveness can make it quite heavenly, and chef had certainly done it with the unexpected addition of lime-marinated watermelon, a fantastic satay sauce and an imaginative peanut coating on some of the lobster. Winning dishes just kept on coming, the luscious poached wild turbot not only melting in the mouth but also releasing the proper freshness of taste sometimes missing in other eateries, and served with an amusing cauliflower purée looking like a half-moon crisp on the plate and matched with matcha tea powder, chives and a tricksy lemon hollandaise. Despite the claims made for English rose veal, a good number of the chefs that we've spoken to tend to source their veal from France, and so it was here. You can see why when you get such delicately flavoured, perfectly textured meat as we were treated to, with a background of tamarind and a pea purée and a decorative light pastry pyramid containing Provola cheese giving an extra dimension to the dish. A pre-dessert is always a good idea, and in many restaurants the peach sorbet with peach segments in a rose petal and pepper sauce would be counted as a full-on dessert in itself; here, though, it was merely a prelude to the suite of flavours delivered by a super matcha tea panna cotta on a white chocolate disc, little wild strawberries, a yuzu sauce and green-coloured chocolate sticklet ornamenting the rim of the dish. Sweet extras, including frozen mojito, strawberry choux pastries and sablé Breton followed and, with good coffee, were supplemented with salt caramel, hazelnut praline and very light pepper chocolates. A memorable experience that we will surely repeat in the not-too-distant future.
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Anon

LondonFoodie
27 May 2015  
Delightful 2 Michelin starred restaurant tucked away in a quiet mews in Mayfair. It is an absolute favourite for a special occasion meal in London. Excellent service, exquisite food and serene setting. A must visit.
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Wendy M

22 March 2014  
I hadn't eaten here since Paul Merrett was at the helm which is more than a decade ago, and have pretty good memories of many a meal. The dining space may have had an uplift, but still feels very similar. Apprehension hadn't occurred despite managing to book fairly last minute, so what did we think of the food now? The breads were a dense, satisfying, butter enriched style but the raw mackerel over-amused the bouche with fishiness which I knew my other half would find tough to tolerate. Seeing his mackerel untouched they volunteered an alternative and as a welcome mushroom morsel arrived, it was promptly consumed with average contentment. The sweetbreads were good but I just didn't understand my crab, mint jelly, and cauliflower starter which had the texture of a super-smooth baby food, crab flavour not strong enough as the cauliflower surprisingly over-powered both mint jelly and crab. The combination sounded unlikely in my amateur opinion, but I figured that a 2* restaurant must know what works. Doubts began to creep in for I didn't enjoy it hardly at all even as I tried to salvage the crab (a favourite seafood) from beneath the jelly and puree, but still failing to get sufficient crab satisfaction. Happily, my main of soft, succulent veal was a complete contrast being excellently prepared and put with the most wonderful jus. Across the table, enthusiasm was not quite matched. Chateauneuf du Pape helped an overall enjoyable evening. Service was good, the female Maitre D'hôtel was a delight. With liqueurs to complete our experience the bill was brought up to what one might expect to have to pay in Mayfair – quite a lot.
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Andrew B

A delightful Business Lunch
26 November 2013  
This is the 3rd time this year I have visited The Greenhouse for a business lunch and I cannot fault anything, yet again. The welcome, the service, the food were all fantastic. Just enough to be right, and cooked to perfection and set out beautifully. Le Gavroche is my number 1 place but this is definately up there as well. a great set lunch menu. Thank you.
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Mr. Alex G

Much ado about a carrot
05 August 2013  
I have always associated The Greenhouse with special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries and the like) and so it seemed fitting to come here to claim my award for being Square Meal’s Critic of the Quarter (thank you Square Meal). The location undoubtedly hints at something special, in order to enter, the diner must walk down a tree-lined, sculpture-bedecked passageway, tucked away at the end of a quiet mews. Such impeccable discretion – and accompanied by a Mayfair postcode, two-Michelin stars and a French chef – really should suggest that an unforgettable dining experience ought to be on hand. While it would be far too easy to sound some combination of arrogant, complacent and snobbish, the conclusion, however, was that both my dining comrade and I were somewhat disappointed. Things began well enough. We were shown to our table by a beaming assistant, seated with a wonderful view and calmed/ charmed as ever by the décor of the room. Per the restaurant’s name, the interior is furnished around a horticultural theme, think (real) sticks and leaves (the latter only in wallpaper format) in pleasant shades in pleasant shades of green and brown. Having a champagne trolley with some ten varieties then brought alongside our table seemed the height of decadence. (indeed, I remarked to my comrade what a nice Christmas present such an item might make – at least if we had a dream house and a butler to serve it – but, hey, it’s fun to fantasise). Anyway, after that it was downhill. Despite having specified that my comrade was vegetarian, our pre-dinner appetiser was whisked away just in the nick of time by one of the many (too many?) staff on duty. “We just wanted to check your wife doesn’t eat fish.” Since when did vegetarianism equate to fish-eating, and surely if there had been any doubt, then they might have thought to ask me this on the phone when I had specified her dining preference? The replacement duly arrived, but comprised a little piece of cucumber covered with a few cumin seeds. Really, in a restaurant like this, they ought to be able to do better… In terms of food, we opted for the tasting menus (me omnivorous, my wife vegetarian), noting that the number of courses was fewer than in some other establishments and the price higher. Six courses (including the pre-dessert palate-cleaner) ought not to stretch a talented chef too much, but if there was one culinary moment that summed up the evening, then it was my wife’s second dish, the oh-so originally entitled “carott” (sic) on the menu. Perhaps use the spell-checker next time you print your menus? As we discussed, the carrot is a wonderful yet humble British vegetable, how might a top chef prepare it? Well, there are only so many things one can do to a carrot – slice it, grill it, puree it etc. – but, at the end of the day, it remains a carrot. Last time I was in Tesco, I paid about 70p for a bag of them, I think. So, message to the Greenhouse, maybe next time think of a more ‘interesting’ vegetable, or at least pair it with something else. Thinking about it, maybe the conclusion was perhaps just that they were trying too hard, attempting (and not always succeeding) in being innovative. For example, my Cornish crab with mint jelly, cauliflower, apple and curry seemed over-engineered and almost impossible to tackle. When presented, it appeared like a poached egg seated in very green soup – not the most visually inspiring. I tasted crab and perhaps some mint, but not a lot else. Something much simpler like the roast beef with wasabi was a much greater success. At least the wines paired with the food were a delight (and some interesting ideas too – a Hungarian red for example, and a Monbazillac to finish), although the enthusiasm of the sommelier in presenting them did seem to flag towards the end. In summary, maybe our expectations were too high, but we certainly felt that the Greenhouse was nowhere near as good as it used to be (admittedly the head chef had changed) and that indeed there are far better dining experiences in London (for us, certainly the Ledbury and L’Autre Pied this year). It seemed almost a fitting end to the evening that even our car journey back was not as good as it should have been. After having asked the Greenhouse to order a taxi for us, rather than the black cab we had expected, a private car appeared, took a slow route home and charged well over the odds.
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Mr. Tim Z

26 January 2013  
Tucked away in a mews behind park lane this is a lovely and exquisite restaurant. Top-notch high-end cuisine with an impressive, massive wine list. You pay for the high quality you get but it is worth it
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