Sounding like a quaint stream frequented by faeries and hobbits, the legend behind Ganymede in Belgravia is even more supernatural and louche than I first imagined…
The restaurant is named after a large moon that circles Jupiter, represented – in Greek Mythology – by a precociously beautiful adolescent boy who was carried to Zeus by a gigantic eagle and forced to serve the chief deity wine on top of mount Olympus for all eternity. Those Ancient Greeks, eh?
Not that I would ever have known this from the restaurant itself, whose concept I never quite grasped. And yet, it added to the charm.
Yes, there is a moon with wings at the top of the menu, but I thought that was just a pretty design choice, mirroring the Doric, stucco-fronted surroundings of upmarket SW1.
I would have been delighted had my waitress explained the scandalous history of the loin-clad boy slave behind the menu logo. But, to be fair, she was a brand new member of staff and the Matre d’ plied me with a glass of champagne before I could even take off my coat. Perhaps his own personal nod to being Zeus’s eternal cup bearer?
It all makes sense when you know that Ganymede is part of the Lunar Pub Company, the group co-founded by brilliant former Chez Bruce chef Oliver Marlowe. Their other outpost, a lovely pub in Chelsea, is called The Hunter’s Moon. Geddit?
But back to Ganymede, which looks like a mini House of Lords from the inside with its plump green leather banqueting booths and dark wooden panels. Less celestial, more ministerial.
There is a touch of colonial chic too, with giant palms, brass lamps and banana plants. Later, in another welcome antipodal twist, the music playing gently in the background was all soft rock on Route 66. Think Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac and Foreigner.
You enter the restaurant through a very popular small bar area, full of posh boys in Rag&Bone jeans. I liked it. It gave me a lively jolt of testosterone and it became clear that this is an elegant but gently boisterous place where you can have a bit of fun over dinner and nobody will mind.
Meanwhile at the back of the house where the tables are, a mixed crowd of elegant couples on dates, big family gatherings telling dad jokes in the booths and the odd well-heeled tourist killing time in a fancy way before heading to Victoria. I heard a lot of corks popping. And if you don’t like that sound, you need more joy in your life.
Ten paragraphs in and I’m finally onto the food. Meat lover? Keto megafan? Then you will love Ganymede. Vegans? Maybe book somewhere else. Allow me to go straight in with the mains.
It was meat upon meat and carbs upon carbs with the juicy lamb saddle. It came with an extra slab of lamb belly, some miso glazed potato gratin and a turnip Lyonnaise, all swimming in jus. Pricey at £34 but you will not go hungry.
My dining companion – (I’m being formal and sophisticated as he is now my ex) – had a perfectly pink roasted duck breast with celeriac puree, Jerusalem artichoke and pommes fondant. It all felt very Scottish country club. And yet, other options included a mushroom and truffle tagliatelle with Belpa Knolle Swiss cheese. Hello, Après ski! And a seaweed gnocchi with halibut, pickled cucumber and caviar beurre blanc that took the concept of fusion food to dizzying new blurred lines and continents.
The starters are less eclectic. A sea bass crudo bathed in delightfully pink candy beetroot sits easily alongside a beef and eel tartare or the chicken raviolo. Not natural bedfellows, the smoked eel and the cow, you know, but I loved the chef’s take on a classic. Instead of using a whole cracked egg yolk in the middle, it was piped along the top with a subtle horseradish cream.
But the desserts are the real heroes here. Whatever they’re paying the pastry chef, double it quick. I beg any chocolate lover to visit for the bitter chocolate and dulce de leche tart alone.
Served with broken honeycomb parfait, this deconstructed messy plate of magnificence is the kind that makes you proclaim belief in God, before swiftly vowing to kill anyone who asks if they can ‘try a bit.’ I don’t think so, pal.
An equally hypnotizing rhubarb souffle was pleasingly high rise and as comforting as a nursery rhyme.
You don’t really come to Ganymede to eat. You come to feast.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 12pm-11pm; Sunday 12pm-6pm
Address: 139 Ebury Street Belgravia, SW1W 9QU