We’ve been living in something only marginally bigger than a toddler’s playpen for a while now.
‘Enough. Let’s move.’
Looking, looking, then finally we find something. It’s a little further out.
We’re ready. Were SO ready. Then comes Opso. And my resolve weakens. And I don’t return real estate phone calls. And I put the packing tape down. It’s the best brunch I’ve had in London for years and it’s only five shops down from our ‘playpen’. I’m in serious trouble.
Opso is a very shmick Greek cafe cum restaurant in Marylebone’s rapidly developing Paddington Street, just off the High Street. And whilst it is clearly very proud of its Greek lineage, it does feel rather like a ‘Capital G’ Global Citizen. An ex-pat Greek in the heart of London’s most quintessentially English village neighbourhoods.
The food is fresh and zingy and makes me think of some of the best brunches at my favorite cafés in Australia. This isn’t exactly the long bow it seems, as Melbourne is home to the second largest Greek population outside Greece itself. Like a lot of good food typical of great Australian eateries, there’s a real lightness in the dishes at Opso, a respect for the produce, and a lovely playfulness in the combinations. Fresh thyme is blitzed with Greek yoghurt and strawberries to deliver a smoothie sure, but not quite as you know a smoothy to be. Fresh blueberry pancakes transcend their earthly carbohydrate bonds and move into something of the celestial with the generous addition of much too much fresh lime zest. It’s brilliant.
The design is bold but simple. Slick but warm. Airy but earthy. It feels like the love child of a Scandi-Greek dalliance. Cool and blue eyed with enough random opulence to reflect the role of the lustful, life-affirming Adonis. I particularly like the use of the lush green indoor plants to soften the austere Nordic edges and the warm wooden furniture nuzzling up to the impressive terrazzo flooring.
Other details take me back to the Southern Hemisphere again, such as the pretty earthenware pottery which feels very contemporary Japanese. And the coffee is good enough to be from one of the new wave New Zealand coffee haunts breeding at rabbit rates cross the city.
Whether we trade in our ‘playpen’ or not, I think we’ll remain regular Opso visitors. Great brunch is always worth travelling the globe for.
10 Paddington St, W1U 5QL, Marylebone, London
Telephone: 020 7935 0551
Telephone: 020 7935 0551