If you judged this all-day Marylebone restaurant solely on its rather silly name, you probably wouldn’t be expecting to find such a stylish space. The truth though, is that A.O.K is home to one of the most life-affirming dining rooms we’ve come across in recent times – chocolate brown wallpaper with floral prints form a focal wall and there are mirrored surfaces galore. The real wow-factor though comes from a faux tree in the corner of the dining room, the branches of which stretch across the ceiling, festooned with white blooms.
The chic interiors are matched by an equally as refined menu of ingredient-led dishes, which will appeal to the neighbourhood’s well-heeled crowds. A.O.K makes much fuss about what it calls ‘inclusive dining’, meaning its dishes are free of refined sugar and that plenty of them are also gluten and dairy-free. Breakfast and brunch sees classic dishes including various egg-based fayre and gluten-free pancakes drizzled with organic maple syrup, while the lunch and dinner menus are largely the same.
We visited at dinnertime and kicked off with a starter of burratina: a wobbly dome of creamy mozzarella finished off with a handful of diced heritage tomatoes. Elsewhere, we loved fleshy wild tiger prawns dusted with lightly spicy chermoula, while a stand-out side of blended sweet potato ‘mash’ (more like a purée) was a moreish delight.
For dessert, expect novel twists on classic puds, including a pumpkin sticky toffee pudding served with ginger ice cream, and an ‘almost cheesecake’ which swaps out cream cheese for a set coconut yoghurt – cheesecake often feels heavy, but this version is both refreshing and light, and is all the better for it.
One of our few gripes with A.O.K is its punchy pricing. Although not dissimilar in price from restaurants nearby, several of the mains are over the £30 mark, but luckily the blow of the bill is softened by the sweet, friendly service. Wine and cocktails are all on-hand too, while we've already earmarked the chic street-side terrace as the place to lounge on sunnier days.