Omni from London pop-up to permanent site
Before opening The Omni Collective (or Omni as it’s more commonly known) two years ago, chef-restaurateurs George Matheou and Jess McGill were busy doing pop-up restaurants and eateries around London. So what is their first permanent space like? In one word; impeccable.
Sitting on a main road in the heart of Peckham Rye, this plant-based restaurant is the perfect mix between a no-nonsense neighbourhood joint, and an upscale restaurant serving some of the freshest flavours in the area.
Arriving at 5 pm for an early dinner, we were the first through the doors and were welcomed by friendly and attentive staff who genuinely seemed happy to see us.
The restaurant is small, but doesn’t feel so due to the considered decor; muted colours, unintrusive music and two unique and bespoke artworks on the walls. Tables are dressed simply with chic gold utensils and linen napkins.
Omni feels easy and fuss-free, which is reflected in the menu, there is only one; hand-written on a large chalkboard hanging from the wall. It’s £40 per head for the whole thing and dishes are to be shared. The all natural wine list is concise and well thought out (the house wines are delicious), and the mocktails taste just like the real thing. So the only thing left to do is sit back, relax and wait for the food to be served.
We were presented with an amuse-bouche, which was one beautifully cooked tortellini each, stuffed with well-seasoned aubergine, an added bonus that I could have gobbled more of, but there was no need as the plates began making their way out of the kitchen. We were treated to some of the freshest, most innovative plant-based dishes I’ve ever had. Winter iberiko tomatoes with capers were juicy and sweet, daikon was cut in thin disks sprinkled with hazelnuts and Szechuan pepper, grilled green beans with chilli and mint sat alongside fluffy warm focaccia, and this was just the starters!
The stars of the night came in the form of confit pumpkin, so beautifully cooked that the skin was as soft as the flesh, grilled hispi cabbage was partnered with the smoothest, richest tofu cream and crunchy mushroom crumb and the twice-cooked hen of the woods mushrooms tasted better than any fried chicken I’ve ever had. Each dish had its own bold flavours and was creative, beautifully presented and downright delicious.
Plus the service was just right at Omni, you’re not rushed, but not left unattended. Intervals between dishes were perfectly timed to give you space to digest, talk and order another drink.
The menu changes constantly as produce is sourced seasonally from local suppliers. The chefs believe in cooking sustainably with as zero-waste as possible making everything in-house. Put simply, Omni is a great restaurant with a nice concept; come, relax, enjoy the food, oh and help towards opening your mind to the possibilities of plant-based dishes, something which these guys do very well.
Omni, 24A Peckham Rye, London SE15 4JR