Onima’s website breathlessly tells us that its ridiculously good-looking founder Alexandros Andrianopoulos ‘spent 10 ardent summers lending his expertise to the glamorous restaurant scene’ on Mykonos, managing some of the hedonistic island’s best-known party spots. It’s only appropriate, then, that for his London debut Andrianopoulos has opened a five-story members’ club in a Mayfair townhouse that was formerly the HQ of Cartier’s watchmaking division.
The ground-floor restaurant (dress code: 'smart-chic') is no less opulent for being open to non-members, who can dine in a romantic setting softly lit by orange and yellow orb-like electric lanterns, with an impressive-looking bar as the centrepiece. It feels like a Disney-esque vision of what an exclusive central London hotspot should look like, but Onima just about pulls it off, not least thanks to some pretty accomplished cooking.
Much as you’d find on Mykonos, the food is a mix of Mediterranean dishes and fashionable Asian influences. For our starters we stuck to the Med with a spanakopita that was pretty faithful to the original Greek spinach pie, even if the saganaki cheese was a touch rubbery. Courgette flowers with feta, ricotta and anchovies, meanwhile, was impressively salty and sour, while the hummus and pitta was some of the best we’ve ever had.
Our mains didn’t re-invent the wheel either, but they were technically flawless. Lamb ragout featured a satisfyingly rich sauce and al dente penne, while baby chicken marinated in miso sauce was perfectly cooked and tender.
Puddings were the real standout, however, with the chocolate cookies semifreddo served with a salted caramel sauce poured from on high, while the soft meringue and mix of textures in a reconstructed lemon tart brought a smile to our faces.
Much like a holiday on Mykonos, a meal at Onima does not come cheap (several starters top the £20 mark) and if dining among the glitz of the international super-rich is not your idea of a good time, then walk on by. But Onima does deliver a pretty faultless experience when it comes down to it and definitely makes a safe choice for a swanky date.