I love getting the chance to visit and experience some of this country’s most fabulous restaurants, so when I was invited to Ampéli’s opening night I was rather excited. Located in the very trendy Charlotte Street, Ampèli is a modern wine-focused restaurant serving Greek and eastern Mediterranean dishes, accompanied by a list of wines from across the Greek mainland and its islands.
Being superbly located across the road from The Charlotte Street Hotel, Ampéli is set across three floors, with a wine bar, mezzanine and more intimate dining space, totalling 80 covers.
When we arrived we were greeted by the general manager and the vibe in the restaurant was relaxed. Diners were enjoying a menu which is designed to encourage sharing over a glass of wine, featuring dishes such as feta saganaki with tomato jam and okra and goat’s cheese fritters.
After we were seated on the mezzanine our waiter went through the menu which also included plates inspired by the food of the Eastern Mediterranean coastline, such as spiced potato brik with soft egg yolk, brown shrimp and harissa mayo; herb and Nabulsi sheep’s cheese manti; and braised cuttlefish with orzo and Moroccan red pepper sauce. The kitchen is led by Head Chef Oren Goldfeld who has previously worked at Nopi and Tel Aviv’s acclaimed Toto restaurant.
Two of my favourites were the Barrel-aged feta Saganaki with cherry tomato jam and the pan-fried Welsh lamb sweetbreads with Jerusalem mixed spice, a punchy blend of cardamom, cumin, turmeric, allspice and paprika, served with almond sauce and pickles. With Greek wine currently undergoing a renaissance in London, it was also exciting to enjoy some wines I’d never tried before, which were expertly paired by the sommelier.
The evening was very relaxed, the food was incredibly tasty and the wine rather enjoyable. Being someone who loves a sharing menu, this is somewhere I’ll definitely be returning.