Virgin Hotels Edinburgh partners with leading London chef to bring a taste of Crete to its flagship

Head Chef Thanos Christakis of the renowned London restaurant, 1905, will create a specially curated Cretan menu exclusive for those dining at Commons Club’s Chef’s Table in March.
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The partnership forms part of Commons Club’s new Chef’s Table experience, where guests can try the finest cuisine from around the world with a new chef collaboration each month.

Virgin Hotels Edinburgh’s flagship restaurant, Commons Club, is bringing the authentic tastes of Crete to its Chef’s Table this month aiming to take guests on an international culinary journey.

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Led by Commons Club Chef de Cuisine, Emma Hanley, the Chef’s Table experience allows guests to sample the very best food from around the globe through exclusive collaborations with world renowned chefs, curating bespoke menus that showcase a different theme each month.

Emma Hanley, Chef de Cuisine, Virgin Hotels.Emma Hanley, Chef de Cuisine, Virgin Hotels.
Emma Hanley, Chef de Cuisine, Virgin Hotels.

For March, Commons Club restaurant has partnered with Head Chef of authentic Cretan restaurant, 1905, Thanos Christakis, to introduce an exclusive menu featuring traditional Greek delicacies and twists on local home-cooked dishes.

Based in Fitzrovia, London, 1905, named after the date of Crete’s historic revolution, was the first Cretan restaurant to open outside of Greece by founder Nikos Nyfoudis.

To launch the new menu, Thanos and Emma will give guests a front row seat to witness the collaboration of two culinary luminaries on March 1, as they create an intimate three-hour dining experience centred on a mouthwatering five course tasting menu.

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The menu will be available to try at Commons Club throughout March, bringing the celebration of Greek gastronomy right to the heart of Edinburgh.

Commons Club Bar.Commons Club Bar.
Commons Club Bar.

As part of the menu, guests can enjoy lamb rack "Antikristo", a traditional Crete dish, directly translated as “across the fire,” which will be served with Spring greens, potato confit croquette and wild artichoke.

Thanos will also be bringing a 1905 favourite to the menu with the delicious rice pudding millefeuille: a handmade traditional "xerotigana" filo served with vanilla rice pudding and a saffron, orange mousse.

The Chef’s Table dishes will be expertly paired with Grecian drinks, in partnership with Axia – the first international Greek extra dry Mastiha Spirit based on ancient traditions – and Metaxa – “The original Greek spirit”.

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Chosen specifically to complement each of the Chef’s Table dishes, Commons Club’s Head Mixologist, Leon Back, has developed a drinks menu compromising of Axia and Ouzo Gimlet, Axia dirty martini, Metaxa Manhattan and finishing off with a neat serve of Private Reserve Metaxa Orama.

Emma said: “We are bringing an unforgettable dining experience to the capital through our collaboration with 1905 Head Chef, Thanos Christakis. We are combining our distinct culinary backgrounds to showcase the best of both worlds – the rich flavours of Cretan cuisine fused with the finest, local Scottish ingredients.

“I am thrilled to be working alongside Chef Thanos to create an intimate evening of fine dining and I am excited for our guests to witness the magic that unfolds in our kitchen on March 1."

Thanos Christakis, Head Chef at 1905, said: My cooking style uses traditional methods that have been passed down for generations, paired with classic Cretan ingredients and a modern twist. I am excited to bring the authentic taste of Crete to Edinburgh.

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“This partnership is an opportunity to showcase the flavours and techniques that define Cretan cuisine, while also incorporating the vibrant local ingredients of Scotland. Together we will transport guests on an immersive Cretan dining journey right here in Edinburgh”.

The ‘Chef’s Table Goes to Greece’ experience will begin on Friday, March 1, and will run throughout the month from Thursday to Saturday weekly from 7pm, with prices starting from £75. The experience can be booked exclusively as a private event or for individual diners, where guests can expect an intimate three-hour sociable dining experience on a long-shared table.

With chef partners still to be announced, takeover highlights for 2024 also include:

  • April: The Chef’s Table goes to Portugal and Spain
  • May: The Chef’s Table goes to Peru
  • June: The Chef’s Table goes to Italy with Stefano Battani, Head Chef at Cucine Nervi
  • July & August: The Chef’s Table goes to Scotland
  • September: The Chef’s Table goes to France
  • October: The Chef’s Table goes to the Middle East
  • November & December: The Chef’s Table goes to Great Britain
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You can find out more information about Commons Club and The Chef’s Table experience at


For more information or interview requests, please email [email protected]

About Virgin Hotels Edinburgh:

Virgin Hotels Edinburgh is the first UK property from Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hospitality brand that combines heartfelt, personalised service with the track record of innovation and smart disruption that Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group has pioneered. Situated in the landmark India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town close to Edinburgh Castle, the new hotel features 222 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites: multiple dining and drinking outlets including Commons Club, Virgin Hotel’s iconic flagship restaurant and bar that acts as a modern-day social club, and Eve, a vibrant, all day dining concept with a focus on entertainment. In re-envisioning the buildings, the designers have worked to preserve its historic elements while adding a sense of style and sophistication. The property promises a stunning mix of old and new to fully capture the character of the cultural city of Edinburgh.

About Virgin Hotels Commons Club:

Commons Club is situated within Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, located in the landmark India Buildings in Edinburgh’s Old Town - a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle. The first-of-its-kind in Europe hotel features 222 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites and multiple dining and drinking outlets, all with their own unique space and distinct design. As well as Commons Club, the iconic space features slick cocktail bar, Eve. The hotel site is also home to a 19th century church, known as Greyfriars Hall, that is being beautifully restored and repurposed as a special event venue. In addition, the hotel will offer a rooftop sanctuary with unobstructed Edinburgh Castle views.

About Virgin Hotels:

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Virgin Hotels is a luxury lifestyle hospitality brand that combines heartfelt service and a personalized hotel experience inspired by the innovation and smart disruption that Sir Richard Branson's global Virgin Group has pioneered for over 50 years. Each property intermixes a passion for food and beverage with music, design, and culture, fusing with the local landscape and providing a vibrant and inclusive environment for travelers and locals alike. The current portfolio includes seven hotels - Virgin Hotels Chicago, Virgin Hotels Dallas, Virgin Hotels Nashville, Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Virgin Hotels Edinburgh and Virgin Hotels New York City. New locations will debut in Miami and Denver in 2025 as well as the launch of Virgin Residences. In addition, Virgin Hotels continues to explore hotel, conversions, and ground-up development in Boston, Los Angeles, Austin, Philadelphia, Seattle, London, and more.

About the Chefs:

Emma Hanley

With a passion for travel and learning skills in international kitchens, Emma Hanley hopes to draw inspiration from her experiences into the new menus, especially for the first Japanese menu as her personal favourite cuisine to cook. Starting her career in Christchurch, New Zealand, Emma has worked all over the world, including one of Australia's most loved restaurants, Supernormal, which is inspired by the cooking of Hong Kong, Seoul, Toyko and Shanghai with a modern Australian twist, as well as establishments Le Petit Leon in the South of France and London’s The Clove Club.

Thanos Christakis

Years of experience in Mediterranean, Greek, Italian, French and Japanese cuisine devoted with passion to the art of cooking, focused on the detail. Thanos started his career in Greece, where he worked in Santorini and Thessaloniki. In 2021 he moved to the UK and London where he worked for Zuma restaurant and 116 Pall Mall. In 2023, Thanos took on the duties of Head Chef at the Cretan restaurant “1905” in London creating modern recipes by combining Greek and Cretan traditional recipes.

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