TOM PARKER BOWLES reviews Oma, a new Greek restaurant in London that serves up a five-star menu fit for the gods

David Carter is one of those rare restaurateurs who cannot seem to put a foot wrong. His first restaurant, Smokestak, is an East London barbecue stalwart that has earned the respect of even the most grizzled of American pitmasters. Manteca was next, a gloriously ‘inauthentic’ Italian place that still manages to thrill.  

And so to Oma, his latest opening in Borough Market, which offers food ‘inspired by the serenity and simplicity of the Greek isles, with the bold flavours of the Levant and further afield’. It’s Greek food, Jim, but not as we know it.

In the wrong hands, a menu that melds Greece with Mexico, Italy, France, China and Israel could have all the appeal of a speed date with Medusa. But Nick Molyviatis (formerly of Kiln) and Jorge Paredes (who used to run Sabor) know what they’re doing – the cooking is nothing short of inspired. Like labneh, all pale, lactic cool, topped with a crimson mess of salt cod XO sauce, subtly fishy and softly spicy. 

Oma’s dishes combine Greek island simplicity with Levantine boldness

And charred, buttery laffa flatbread for dunking, which disappears in moments and we immediately order more.

Malawach, a flakily delicate Yemeni bread, is every bit its equal (damn, this kitchen can bake), dipped into a melted feta and spinach gratin. Which is a brilliant riff on the classic spanakopita pie. Their take on börek (another Greek savoury pastry) is just as original – a square of burnished filo filled with intense lobster broth. The liquid soaks deep into the pastry, then spills lasciviously across the plate.

And this is a kitchen that can move from pastry perfection to cool, piscine elegance with effortless ease. Chalkstream trout tartare, pert and pure, is mixed with tomatoes, jalapeño and a joyously sharp citrus dressing. Seabass crudo, splendidly fresh, is topped with jalapeño granita. 

A charred squid skewer tastes of long, languid Greek island lunches, eaten with the sand between one’s feet. Bliss.

There’s big, bold comfort too – giouvetsi, a soft, sweetly savoury mass of beef and orzo pasta. On top, a half marrowbone, its glossily wobbling contents sprinkled with beef-fat breadcrumbs. 

Service is every bit the equal of the cooking, while the wine list is a Greek epic, with a brilliant sommelier to match. I don’t think you’ll find food like this anywhere else on earth. Ye gods! David Carter has done it again


About £50 per head. Oma, 2-4 Bedale Street, SE1;