Mayfair is pretty magical around Christmas time, bright lights adorn the tops of buildings, a crispness lingers in the air and lining hidden-away streets lie post-work drinkers sipping on steaming mugs of mulled wine and munching on mince pies. My reason for visiting was to try out Onima, the latest addition to Mayfair’s sensational food scene. Bringing the spirit of Mykonos to London, the restaurant-cum-bar-cum-private members’ club, which lies snug inside what was once Cartier’s headquarters, allures you straight from the website to the lobby. Heavily based on sensory exploration, the venue and brainchild of founder Alexandros Andrianopoulos seeks to exploit all of our senses during the dining process, positioning itself as a lifestyle experience as opposed to a simple eat and go.
Onima plays with sumptuous colours one might find inside any up-market exclusive venue, blood reds and black taking precedence; a far cry from staple Mykonos embellishments of terracotta and shades of blue. It’s cosy whilst being luxe, emanating real date-night vibes. Designed by Greek interior designers Archset, there’s a real love affair going on with plush velvet sofas and grandiose art-work. Walking into the restaurant, the eye catches the glimmering bar; a centre-point where mixologists are working their magic. The interiors blend well with the dimly-lit room, providing a strikingly sexy atmosphere. And, on the sexy front, the loos are follow suit.
It’s one of those where everything looks good, big appetite or no. The food waltzes between Mediterranean and Asian influence and mixes flavours of Greek, Italian and Japanese cuisine. Sashay between a menu emboldened by options, from meat offerings to fish, salads or mezze. On par with the chichi interior, the menu also boasts a ‘From The Josper’ section; this being coveted food such as Wagya beef ribeye and Greek seabass cooked over Japanese “Binchotan” charcoal.
Onima’s food is displayed artistically, perhaps like you’d expect of a Michelin but with a whole lot more “oomph” to the dish. Think edible flowers and bright food displayed on charcoal coloured plates. The way the food is served is akin to the restaurant as a whole, flamboyant and easy on the eye. The octopus was the highlight; Josper grilled with Mediterranean salsa and Stuffed courgette flowers with feta, ricotta and anchovies. It wasn’t overwhelmed by a seafood-y taste, instead the think meaty texture was flavoursome and complimented by the accompanying ingredients. Another eye-opener were the Josper barbecue scallops with Girolles mushrooms. Typically regarded as a stater, scallops were a choice outside the box that didn’t disappoint. The cumbersome items were fulfilling, moreish and proved Onima aren’t stingy on the portion sizes. Other noteworthy recommendations include the grilled green asparagus, tofu mayonnaise and sesame dressing – tofu mayonnaise being a unique offering – and for dessert the reconstructed lemon tart or pineapple carpaccio got our vote.
As soon as we sat we were told a cocktail was en route, gin-based and fresh and just what one needs after a day’s work. Yes, it didn’t fit into the realm of winter cocktails but it refreshed the taste buds for what was to come. Onima is clearly big on cocktails (like most of Mayfair), however if a cocktail isn’t your preferred amuse-bouche however, there is an extensive wine list on offer.
Go along with your date as it’s really got that Valentines thing going on! And whilst the prices may match the postcode but that’s what you’re signing up to in Mayfair. And if you’re willing to splash, the foodie returns far from disappoint. Until next time!
Onima can be found at 1-3 Avery Row, Mayfair, W1K 4AJ, www.onimarestaurant.com