GAIA, a ‘refined Greek taverna’ based in Dubai, opens its first London branch next Friday (8 December) on a prominent Mayfair corner site where Dover Street meets Piccadilly.
Founded in 2018 by British-Nigerian chef Izu Ani, who grew up in Tottenham, and Russian-born entrepreneur Evgeny Kuzin, the concept already has branches in Monte Carlo and Doha, with further openings in Marbella and Miami scheduled for 2024.
Izu developed the menu with Greek-born chef Orestis Kotefas, a long-time collaborator. The centrepiece of the taverna is a display of fresh fish and seafood for selection by diners, while cocktails include the Theo, a blend of olive oil-infused tequila with bergamot, basil and Mastika named after Izu’s son.
Izu says: “Our philosophy is one of culture and cuisine. We focus on food, on simple, honest and humble ingredients that come together to create joy. In the kitchen, we cook to create happiness, to bring a calm and pure moment of pleasure to everyone who enters. In London, we aim to ensure the essence of GAIA remains as authentic as it was when it first opened, as it becomes embedded within the local community.”
Evgeny adds: “With GAIA’s debut in London, we hope to create a home away from home for Londoners, and introduce the city to the way we love to create lifestyle concepts. London is a key cosmopolitan city, one of the world’s leading financial centres and a cultural hub, it’s imperative that GAIA has a home in London.“