By Jessica McGill
London is world famous for its diverse cuisine and exciting restaurant scene. However, for many years, vegans and vegetarians were not well served in restaurants, apart from the odd token dish on the menu. Today, a meat free diet is no longer considered an inconvenient dietary choice or a lifestyle that isn’t worth catering for, with supermarket giants such as Sainsburys predicting that 25% of the UK population will be plant-based by 2025.
My partner and co-founder, George Matheou, didn’t always used to be vegan. I started as a pescatarian, George as an omnivore. In fact, we first started our pop-up with a pescatarian menu before realising it is hard to find sustainable fish with the budget restrictions we had. We decided that if we couldn’t do it right then we wouldn’t do it at all. After participating in a 40-day vegan challenge, we decided there was nothing to be missed in terms of flavour and food choices. The only thing we were missing was our perfect date night setting. Our backgrounds as chefs allowed us to experiment with flavours, gain feedback from customers and décor inspiration to create the restaurant we had always dreamt of.
Introducing ‘The Omni Collective’ – a fully plant-based restaurant favouring vibrant veggies over fake meat. We hope to welcome everyone either for a beautiful brunch setting at 11:30am-3pm, or our ambient dinner service from 5pm-10pm. We can cater to any cuisine or dietary requirements. We are also available to hire for private events, from weddings, parties, retreats, or work events.
Offering an exclusively plant-based menu, The Omni Collective have laid its roots in Peckham, after years of operating as a pop-up. Our concept? Vegetable forward food focussed on seasonal vegetables, as opposed to fake meats and vegan junk food that the market has been saturated with.
As a ‘micro-seasonal’ restaurant, our plant-based menu changes every 3-4 weeks depending on what is available, and we use flavours and inspiration from around the world to create new and interesting combinations. Current menu items for Spring include courgette with a kalamata olive crumb, Cornish leaves and truffle, wild garlic tortellini in miso, 1000-layer potatoes, braised globe artichoke with a yuzu dressing and caramelised chicory with an orange and soy sesame sauce.
What’s more, is all the dishes are designed to be shared or you can opt in for an ‘All-In’ option designed for 4 people, with pickles and focaccia starting from £90. As well as this, we offer an extensive cocktail menu, with delightful flavours of Rhubarb and Custard, Blood Orange Negroni, Charred Lemon Margaritas, Pomelo Daquiris and more. All drinking vinegars and kombuchas are made in house, and any leftover vegetables are pickled or fermented with a view to remain as sustainable as possible. To add to this, there is a great natural wine list and locally sourced beers available.
To many, Omni means omnivore, those who eat everything from meat to fish to vegetables. Naming our plant-based restaurant The Omni Collective was rooted in the idea that people of all beliefs and nationalities could be brought together, sit around the table as we did. For us, Omni is about feeding everyone from one menu, whether you are kosher, halal, omnivorous or plant based.
Jessica McGill is co-owner and co-founder of The Omni Collective and is the executive chef and general manager. She was born in Gloucestershire and moved to London over ten years ago. Jess has travelled extensively, finding a passion and knowledge of different cuisines and cultures and aims to incorporate this variation in their food with Omni. After gaining experience in the London street food scene, Jess set up Omni and ran it full time from 2016 through different residencies across London, from the Yard theatre to Louie Louie and Bar Stockton, alongside catering events. In her spare time Jess plays music in a band and enjoys writing and film.