While there’s really no dearth of eminently-Instagrammable spots for your next lunch in London, the latest haunt in Marylebone has the vantage point of pedigree.
Cosseted in a by-lane behind Baker Street, A.O.K Kitchen & Bakery is helmed by Kelly Landesberg – daughter of Gary Landesberg, chairman of The Arts Club – with a capable team assembled from the vaunted members’ hub in Mayfair too!
It’s a hopelessly enchanting space, canopied by vines and blossoms with hand-painted wallpaper sheathed with silk. There’s a vaulted bakery downstairs, championing specialty breads and pastries with gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free alternatives aplenty, as well as a “yeast-free” – unleavened – bread.
The ground-floor restaurant majors in health and wellness too, delivering virtuous gratification with dishes bursting with vibrant colours and Mediterranean flavours.
It’s unsurprising then, to find A.O.K packed with well-coiffed flocks of ladies indulging in a languid afternoon of sun-drenched salads and juices spiked with a zeitgeisty touch (Birch Charcoal or Blue Majij Lemonade anyone?). To be fair, our party of five is guilty of it too.
Highlights for us include cos lettuce tumbled together with crunchy shards of sesame and Manouri, a semi-hard cheese grilled to a crisp perfection yet beautifully-creamy on the inside. Puy lentils are topped with roasted carrots and Romano peppers, accented with a kick of turmeric and lemon. Chopped salads are another staple order for restaurant regulars at our table, with grilled chicken and avocado padding up the dish deliciously.
In case you’re wondering, mains do feature more substantive options – from honey roast salmon and wild tiger prawns, to BBQ lamb chops and homemade linguine with Cornish crab. It’s just a bit baffling that vegetarians are not as well-catered for in comparison.
If I’m being honest – I do approach desserts with a bit of caution, given that everything at A.O.K prides itself on being free from refined sugar. As vivaciously-healthy as lunch has been, somehow virtuously-intended puds have never held a compelling appeal for my thirty-two sweet teeth. The hot chocolate mousse is astonishingly-moreish though, its molten centre cocooning warm bites of pear. Admittedly, it’s not as sybaritically-rich as the desserts I tend to favour (it is gluten and dairy-free after all), but it hits the spot all the same.
Overall verdict? Well, I’d say A.O.K proves to be just as agreeable as its name would suggest!
A.O.K Kitchen & Bakery, 52-55 Dorset Street,London,W1U 7NQ | https://aokkitchen.co.uk/
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