Milos, the venerable Greek seafood restaurant with roots in Montreal offers superior seafood in a location and atmosphere that is enviable by any measure. The seafood alone puts Milos in a league of its own, but setting food aside for a moment, the service is unparalleled. The wait staff is trained to the highest level of excellence and attentiveness; but some things cannot be trained and they collectively exhibit an almost innate sense of personal touch and engagement that speaks to the culture of Milos, making the entire experience special.
The upscale interior is metropolitan modern accented by a minimalist placing of Grecian heritage – a backsplash of cool-hued tiles and a few carefully placed, large pithos jars announce Greek Island-style for the twenty-first century.
So let’s talk food. The journey starts with a visit to the in-restaurant ‘fish market’ guided by one of the several staff members that will take care of you for the evening. Following a mini-tour, the whole fish we would ultimately enjoy was chosen along with options for starters and sides.
Back at our table, we started with a Greek salad, grilled octopus and fried courgettes and aubergine. It can be hard to wow us with a salad but this one did – with oversized triangles of fresh feta framing a bed of succulent tomatoes tossed with onions, green peppers, cucumbers, olives and herbs. Packed with flavour, it was one of the freshest and tastiest salads we have had.
The sushi-grade grilled octopus served with puréed Santorini fava beans was exquisite and the Milos special sent heads turning as it made its way from the kitchen to our table. A tower of layered, thin-sliced and fried courgettes and aubergines with a hidden pocket of tzatziki and garnished with fried Kefalograviera cheese was both entertaining and delicious.
It’s worth noting that the food at Milos is designed for sharing and the portions are generous. Pacing yourself or coming with twice as many people as planned is sound advice for exploring as many flavours as possible.
For the main, we shared a whole fish: Fagri. Unique to the Mediterranean with its own flavour and subtleties – it is light while also being meaty and offers a mild yet full flavour. Served grilled, dressed in a sauce of olive oil and lemon, and seasoned minimally with capers and Kytheran sea salt, it was grilled, filleted and matched with a crisp white wine.
A sample of Greek delicacies made its way to the table for desert. The house-strained thick yoghurt and thyme-honey from Kythera with crumbled walnuts was perfect. The baklava was a dense mix of almonds, pistachios, walnuts, honey, cinnamon and cloves all neatly contained in a large cannula of layered filo with a side of homemade baklava ice cream. And the Galaktoboureko (custard layered with filo and topped with sweet orange zest) melted in your mouth. The sliced blood oranges and seeds of juicy pomegranate made for excellent shots of refreshment and garnishment. Although we really ate far too much it was hard to stop and the traditional deserts brought a fantastic evening and meal to its rightful end.
The remarkable thing about authentic Greek food is that it is light and fresh. Even on a cold, grey London evening the food transports you. Milos is a great escape in one of the most privileged locations in London, offering an after-lunch or dinner stroll around the West End and the royalty that is SW1. We said goodbye, exited the commanding, five hundred kilo handcrafted doors and started to plot our return.
Words by Farley Blackman