What? An open invitation to experience some of the most exquisite flavours and smells of the Mediterranean in a relaxed tapas fashion.
New? Yes it is, it is the creation of the restaurateur Omar Shabaan, whose family have clocked up years of experience with restaurants in Egypt through their very well-established Andrea Mariouteya hospitality group. It is only now however, that Omar has fulfilled his dream and opened his own restaurant in London
Where? Omar’s Place is hidden down a side street in Pimlico, just a short walk from Victoria station. 13 Cambridge Street, Pimlico, SW1V 4HP. www.omarsplace.co.uk
On the Menu: Vicente Fortea heads up the kitchen and has curated a menu that showcases contemporary tapas dishes. Each one has been carefully selected from the coastal towns of the Mediterranean to bring only the best and most authentic flavours to Pimlico.
The Look: On entering Omar’s Place, you will be met by an array of Mediterranean colours. The cerulean blue of the skies and the earthy burnt orange of the terracotta tiles, will meet and mingle with the bright emeralds akin to that of the lush green trees you would see lining the coasts of Greece and Turkey. Misshapen and rustic marble table tops will cradle your coveted dishes, while curved mirrors serve as elegant light conductors; brightening the room and opening up the space to make it feel as fresh and welcoming as possible.
What We Ate: A Lot. Why? because it was so delicious…and Omar wouldn’t let us get away with not ordering his favourite dishes. These included the octopus leg. One tentacle placed elegantly on a platter. I wouldn’t have gone for the sucker but we were lucky that Omar was on hand to over ride our doubts. He thought we would love it and so it appeared, char grilled and tasting like it had come fresh from a mediterranean bbq. I could almost smell the sea.
The foie gras was also a highlight as it came sandwiched between two dimpled pieces of pink meringue. Unusual but far from unpleasant. It has to be said the presentation of all the dishes was immaculate, and made the experience all the more enjoyable as we ooed and ahhhhed seeing it make it’s way over to us from the kitchen.
My friend chose an excellent pudding, which came as a meringue, dusted with cocoa and filled with tiramisu ice cream. It was so good I didn’t get a look it. My lemon tart on the other hand was a bit gelatinous in texture and therefore not quite to my liking. Which is just as well, because I was so full by this point I couldn’t have enjoyed it even if I wanted to.
The garlic olives and gold painted almonds deserve a special mention. The olives truly were some of the best I’ve had, and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of gold dusting on their almonds? Exactly, I was lapping it up.
What We Drank: I’ll be honest my first choice was a case of looking better than it tasted. It looked amazing; a bright yellow concoction that would have glowed in the dark had I turned the lights off, but sadly it tasted like medicine. Not even the good kind. There was nothing sweet and Calpol like about this. My second drink however was perfect. I asked for a gin cocktail because once you’ve been adventurous once, you have no guilt about ordering a staple favourite, and thank god I did, it was heaven. No doubt the mixologist knew what he was doing, I’m just not sure I was ready for the medicinal therapy he was trying to sell me on first round.
Go With: Friends. The relaxed style of tapas makes it great for sharing. I would say vegetarians steer clear, the dishes are meat centred. The decor is also elegant and feels chic so you could easily impress a date here should you so wish.
Final Word: Omar’s Place is a fun and vibrant restaurant set up by a man with a real passion for what he does. Thought has gone into every recipe along with each tailored dish that the food rests on; hand crafted and brought over from Spain. It’s a great experience and an Instagram gem. You will be welcomed with open arms and by the friendliest of staff.
Omar’s Place: 13 Cambridge Street, Pimlico, SW1V 4HP