Mayfair restaurant Onima is on a mission to transport you back to the heady days of 2006 i.e. before those pesky bankers plunged the global economy into recession — life is still Champagne fabulous, JT’s SexyBack has just made it to number one and fusion food is still Kind Of A Big Deal.
The menu, a mashup of Greek, Italian and Japanese dishes, is usually enough to set alarm bells ringing but thankfully, it’s a pick-and-choose affair rather than full-blown Noughties fusion. Inside, Onima is true to its tagline, “Mykonos comes to Mayfair”; the slinky lighting is super flattering and will have you feeling ready for your big night out at Mahiki in no time. It’s high-spec everything, from the black marble entrance hall down to the glittery copper sanitary bins.
Onima has put together a more than slinky space.
Mayfair is prime cocktail territory, and at £15 a tipple, you expect a lot. We had a whisky sour and tequila pineapple number and they were both absolutely knockout. The extensive wine list features bottles from all over the world, and the sommelier will come over to smooth talk you into something sexy. We opted for an Austrian Grüner Veltliner (£49) which was all wet stone and vegetal notes and paired well with the food.
Our charming Italian-German waiter suggested three starters to share between two. I always love the frivolity of stuffed courgette flowers with feta, ricotta and anchovies (£16) and with their light-as-air tempura batter, these didn’t disappoint. The josper-grilled octopus with Mediterranean salsa (£18) was unctuously smoky but left me hankering for more of an oomph from the salsa. I was glad that the beef tartare with orange ponzu sauce, heritage tomatoes and celery (£22) wasn’t as fusion-y as I was expecting, but call me a purist (or a philistine) — I like my tartare with tiny, diced cornichons and a confit yolk.
Decorative and frivolous dishes can be found here.
Mains-wise, the Chianina beef ribeye steak (£42) cooked on the josper grill was a flame-licked revelation. While I was hoping the roasted seabass with aubergine puree and sautéed Italian chicory (£32) would hit all the right notes, the fish was overcooked and the seasoning a tad underwhelming. The sides needed a little more loving; the triple-cooked chips (£6) were — alas — soggy, and while the garlic broccoli (£6) did what it said on the tin, I don’t know why they didn’t put it on that josper grill for some of that magic charring. Next, a digestif and dessert: tiramisú with coffee mousse and caffelatte ice cream (£9) was decent but not quite at nonna’s level.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you’re all about the high-roller W1 scene then Onima is going to be your jam. The cocktails are great, the décor suitably chichi and anything that comes off the josper grill is delicious. The prices certainly match the postcode, but for all you poseurs of Mayfair, this is the ideal see-and-be-seen dinner and drinks spot if you’re on your way out to a bougie West End club.