OMNOM, a vegetarian restaurant and yoga studio that opened in January 2022, is set in a light, airy and modern space just off Upper Street in Islington, London.
A registered charity, which states that it is founded on the principles of compassion and kindness, this formerly vegan business promises that for every meal eaten there, OMNOM donates a hot and healthy meal to a child in the developing world. Among its ambassadors, it lists podcasters Jay Shetty and comedian Russell Brand.
As an eating experience, it offers a wide range of foods, from street-snacky bits to small plates and traditional curries. The food we tried was delicious. The samosas – three per portion – were tasty and served with a light spicy sauce. The masala puri was something I’ve not experienced before, and both different and lovely, consisting of crispy shells filled with potatoes, chickpeas and bell pepper, dressed in chutney and sprinkled with sev.
To follow we went for the jackfruit biryani medley, cheesy nan bread and makhani daal. The jackfruit was excellent; it was chunky and moist, adding superb texture to the spicy rice. The nan was perfect, with a great melty vegan cheese. And the daal, made from lentils and red kidney beans in a mildly spicy, buttery and creamy gravy, was just delightful. I had the rich plant-based chocolate cake and ice cream to follow, while my friend went for a dairy dessert.
The food itself was excellent, with decent portion sizes. Unusually and rather disappointingly nowadays, this restaurant began as a vegan place and more recently chose to add dairy to the menu, so ordering can be tricky as some meals are available as a vegan option only. Plus, personally, I am much more inclined to support fully vegan businesses.
Overall, great ethic, lovely food and attentive service, perhaps a little too much so at points – it was startling to have the bill plonked on our table halfway through dessert and with our not having requested it. We were assured there was no rush… but there clearly was.
Looking at my booking email later, I noticed that one hour and 15 minutes is allowed per meal for a table of four and under. My bad for not noticing when I reserved a table, as to be honest it may have put me off as the main event on a night out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It’s not an cheap night out. Without alcohol, our dinner for two came to £80, so a more relaxed ending would have been the icing on the cake, rather than leaving a slightly sour taste.
That said, a leisurely stroll down a busy Upper Street on a Friday night is a great way to end an evening.