John Gregory-Smith dined on delectable shared dishes at Greek Restaurant Opso.
Marylebone has been getting one hell of a facelift over the last few months with celebs climbing over us mere mortals to get into Chiltern Firehouse, Fischers styled out Viennese food and the imminent opening of another Corbin and King masterpiece, the Beaumont Hotel. So what could have been better on a hot summers evening than heading to Marylebone to dine at the newest opening Opso, a modern Greek restaurant on Paddington Street.
Opso is a very stylish neighbourhood restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, with outside table space on the weekends. Inside is very contemporary, with a bar area leading through to a small dining room, with soft toned woods, light brown leather banquets and a shared eating area in the centre, which was surrounded by a metal frame that looked like monkey bars.
The menu is essentially shared plates, with a few additions of soup, bread and meat or cheese plates. We went straight in for a spinach pie (£4.5) that had a lovely minty filling but slightly soggy pastry. The rogue soup was a creamy mushroom soup (£7), and although I am not sure how Greek this bad boy was, it tasted velvety smooth and lusciously rich.
A perfect disk of metsovone (£7) oozed out into a sumptuously smokey slick of cheesy glory. The rhubarb jam on the side was very sweet, but I have never understood the merits of putting a fruit mush next to something like a cheese of a joyous piece of cured meat. A simple Dakos salad (£8) – dakos being a crunchy rusk bread – made with sweet cherry tomatoes, olives, crispy bread, tangy macerated onions and creamy cheese, was heavenly. This was real Greek food; vibrant, fresh and all about superb ingredients.
I was very wary of their deconstructed Pastitsio (£15). Deconstructing things is weird anyway. Why bother, especially if something works. A plate of noodles with a beef ragu, tomato sauce and a nutmeged béchamel arrived. I poked at it with my fork and reminded myself not be a baby and try it. I mean noodles! Well fast forward 18 seconds and that had disappeared. It was delicious, rich, meaty and really well seasoned. If all deconstructed food is like this deconstruct away!
We had two more, very rich dishes. Slow cooked lamb shank (£22) on a bed of sweet tomato and lemongrass orzo. The lamb was a little dry and orzo too sweet for me, but it was still pleasant. And finally a silky smooth bowl of bright yellow, garlicky fava bean puree, with incredibly tender pieces of smoked eel, charred spring onions, deep fried capers and little pools of pungent basil oil (£14.50).
Desserts were not my thing, but I felt on the whole that Opso had a really interesting selection of Greek-ish food. The staff, who were all lovely, didn’t quite know their way around the menu, especially when this fatty ordered all the richest dishes. But with a little time, and a few creases ironed out, Opso will be ‘the’ hangout for locals in the know.
For more information visit opso.co.uk