A suave and sophisticated new spot in Mayfair, Onima is located inside the imposing five-story townhouse that was once the UK headquarters of Cartier. As you enter, expect opulence at every turn: velvet seating, mood lighting, gilt bronze details, and brightly lit bars stocking the finest drinks, including an inventive cocktail menu that lists all the classics plus a few with exotic ingredients.
When we visit for the recent launch event, we taste a few of the tipples and our favourite has to be the Callisto – a baby pink-coloured tangy yet silky smooth mix of tequila, passionfruit, vermouth and pineapple all topped with a pretty purple lavender sprig.
Onima’s menu offers an elegant blend of Mediterranean and Asian flavours, which are all beautifully presented but also served in well-sized portions. We are advised by the attentive yet unobtrusive waiting staff to share a few of the mezze-style starters between us in order to sample an array of flavours. This is music to our ears, as my guest and I are struggling to choose just one option each. Our favourite is the tender and tasty Beef Tartare with a lip-smacking sour and fruity orange ponzu sauce; moreish, too, was the Melanzano Salata – a baked aubergine dish with salty cubes of feta. The stand-out main is roasted rack of lamb served with “caponata” vegetables and minty artichoke. The meat, with a deliciously crispy skin, is succulent and juicy and served just the right shade of pink.
On to dessert, via a glass or two of Picpul de Pinet, the chef’s take on Tiramisu is a deconstructed masterpiece with intense coffee flavours and rich swirls of pistachio cream. As we sit, we listen to the upbeat tunes that the DJ is spinning, played at just the right volume for dinner, and later ramped up as people finish eating and the party gets underway.
Full and satisfied, we do a little exploring and find that there is space at Onima to eat, drink and socialise at any time of the day. On the ground-floor you’ll find a light and spacious restaurant and large bar, perfect for a lunch date; to the first floor, where we sat for dinner, there is a sultrier vibe, with tables set beneath a dramatic American walnut panelled ceiling design illuminated with coloured lights. Next floor up (although it’s not open yet), we are told there will soon be a private lounge; and right at the top of the building, in the next few months a glass-enclosed rooftop terrace will open, offering stunning views. We can’t wait to visit again, once they’re both up and running.