Nestled in reassuringly expensive Belgravia is cosy corner restaurant Ganymede, with that kind of understated elegance that appeals to comfortably well-heeled patrons. Escaping the drizzle without, we headed indoors to be welcomed by the heady scent of perfumed candles and pleasantly smiling staff ushering us towards polished wooden tables and green leather booths.
Hard pressed to pick from the menu I started with a favourite of the house, the risotto nero with fennel and cuttlefish. Creamy, salty and rich in flavour this proved a promising start and I decided to double-carb with wild abandon, opting for a main of homemade tagliatelle, mushroom and truffle ragu with Belper Knolle. This little-known Swiss cheese is made directly from raw milk, infused with garlic and rolled in black pepper. Intensely flavoured and so hard it can really only be grated; it is a must-try for any dairy fanatic.
The simple bowl of pasta, made with only a handful of ingredients, felt utterly decadent and truly blew the rainy skies away. My dining companion’s miso-glazed lamb belly melted on the tongue, but its crispy pomme gratin counterpart added a satisfying crunch. Texture is obviously key to Ganymede’s talented chef Daniel Mertl.
The Ganymede wine list here is pretty wonderful, and I cannot imagine anyone being stumped for choice. Starting with the low-key excellence of a glass of Coates & Seely, potentially the best kept secret in English wine, I then selected a mid-priced bottle from Burgundy which proved to also be a stunner, Domaine Stephane Aladame, Montagny 1er Cru 2018. “Sélection Vieilles Vignes” this was made from a blend of four Premier Cru sites with vines aged between 40 and 80 years.
The older a vine, the less fruit it produces but the more concentrated the flavour; clearly shown here as the elegantly over-lapping notes of peaches, pear, vanilla, nutmeg and blossom vied for first place. My white chocolate crème brulée, with its dash of pear compote, was so velvety smooth I felt positively buoyed up to face the storms outside.
Wines of the week
La Fiorita, Brunello di Montalcino, Fiore di NO 2016, £131, Hedonism
A magnum of this just went for a fantastic £3,310 at the recent Wines For Ukraine Auction. Named for charismatic owner Natalie Oliveros and a wine close to her heart this organic wine is a richly expressive and elegant red from Tuscany. Absolutely beautiful now, but with potential to age.
Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2013, £236, The Finest Bubble
Synonymous with exceptional quality the 2013 vintage has just been released and is already selling out due to limited stock and high demand. It is easy to see why with this Champagne’s excellent finesse and subtly rich flavour. One of the best vintages of this fantastic wine.
Viña Mayor Reserva, Ribera Del Duero 2016, £24.99, Amazon
From Tempranillo vines of over 60 years old, the flavours are complex and concentrated with a hint of coffee underneath fresh red cherries and berries. Silky smooth and beautifully balanced I would pair this with Spanish-style game and bean stews or mature hard cheeses.
Yalumba, The Virgilius 2018, £40.95, VINVM
Celebrate International Viognier Day on the 29th with this stunning example from Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. Mainly from old vines in cool Eden Valley, the beautiful ripe fruit flavours are kept complex and fine thanks to expert winemaking retaining a subtle, stony acidity.
Aalto, Ribera del Duero 2018, £35.68, Justerini & Brooks
A compelling perfume of fresh blossoms, dusky violets and dark spice, on the palate this has rich, dark fruits made graceful by a supple sweetness. Powerful, sleek and elegant this is a true joy to drink and celebrate Ribera del Duero’s 40th Anniversary.