David Carter to open Athens street market-inspired restaurant AGORA in Borough Market

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

David Carter to open Athens street market-inspired restaurant AGORA in Borough Market

Related tags David Carter AGORA OMA Borough market Greek cuisine

SMOKESTAK and Manteca founder David Carter will open a restaurant inspired by Athens’ street markets beneath his OMA restaurant in London’s Borough Market.

Called AGORA, the restaurant will occupy the ground floor of the Bedale Street building and is set to open towards the end of the month.

The restaurant – which takes its name from the Greek word for ‘market’ - is billed as a smaller, more casual sibling to the Greek islands-inspired OMA​, which is expected to launch later this spring.

Located on street level, guests to AGORA will be greeted by a two-metre charcoal rotisserie ‘souvla’ around which the menu will revolve, using whole animals such as native breed pork, lamb and chicken from Somerset and Cornwall.

The menu will begin with wood-fired flatbreads made with wild-farmed British grains, to go with house spreads including a spinach tzatziki with crispy garlic, or strained yoghurt blitzed with feta, oregano and Aleppo chilli oil.

Hot from the wood-burning rotisserie will be a rotating selection of different cuts of meat, including rolled lamb shoulder marinated in garlic, lemon zest and oregano; native breed pork shoulder ‘kontosouvli’ (marinated then roasted), brushed with rosemary and pork fat; or pasture fed Somerset Saxon chicken.

On weekends, AGORA will serve whole animals such as spit-roast lamb and native breed pork with crackling and salsa verde. Drippings from the rotisserie will flavour and caramelise sides of potatoes below, to be garnished with crispy sage.

Former Kiln chef Nick Molyviatis is working alongside Carter to develop the menu for the launch, while Eyal Schwartz, the founding head baker at E5 Bakehouse, will be developing the bread programme for the onsite bakery for AGORA and OMA upstairs.

The bar will have an emphasis on ‘fun, tongue-in-cheek cocktails’, with the team mixing bar-list classics such as rhubarb sour, cucumber and elderflower spritz or a classic grapefruit paloma with a hint of chamomile.

The restaurant will have a combination of communal seating and individual tables, with diners able to opt to sit at the stone worktops and watch the chefs stoking the fires of the rotisserie and wood-burning oven, or perch at the chiselled wooden bar where cocktails are stirred and shaken.

The entire frontage is designed to open out, merging the interior with the lively atmosphere from the market across the street, complete with a bar facing outwards so that passers-by can purchase items to take away. 

AGORA’s design, led by Box 9 Design, will use materials that take cues from modern Greek colours and textures, with rendered stone walls combined with contemporary finishes in sleek steel and weathered bronze.

“This site is completely unique in that the infrastructure completely warrants and demands two concepts,” Carter says.  “While OMA will be more elevated, AGORA is designed to mirror the bustling vibe of the market it opens out onto, heavily influenced by the lively streets of Athens, with our 2m souvla rotisserie being the focal point.”

“We want AGORA to be high energy and lively, somewhere you’re welcome and at ease for a unfussy lunch on the counter amongst the vibrance of the market, or as a larger group wanting to get stuck a whole spit-roast pig. Frozen green chilli margs to wash it all down and extra napkins at the ready.”

OMA will open later in the spring in the same building with Molyviatis and Jorge Paredes, formerly executive chef of Sabor, leading the kitchen alongside Carter. It will serve a menu that reflects the’ humble techniques and generous flavours’ of nostalgic Greek dishes bolstered by the flavours of the surrounding coastal regions.

A full interview with David Carter and his team will be published later this week.

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