Latest opening: AGORA

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

AGORA Greek restaurant Borough Market

Related tags AGORA OMA David Carter Greek cuisine London

Manteca and SMOKESTAK founder David Carter has opened his modern take on a Greek taverna in Borough Market.

What:​ A casual restaurant in London’s Borough Market that takes most of its culinary cues from Greece. AGORA - the Greek word for market - majors in flatbreads, spreads, skewers cooked on a huge grill and braised dishes. The restaurant is casual with a walk-ins only policy and an anticipated spend per head of around £25 at lunchtimes and £45 in the evening including drinks. It is positioned as a more informal counterpoint to OMA, a more spendy Greece-inspired restaurant focused on seafood that is now also trading in the space above. 

Who:Manteca and SMOKESTAK founder David Carter is the restaurateur behind the two restaurants,​ which together make up one of the biggest restaurant launches in the capital this year. He has assembled a crack team to lead the project including newcomers to the group former Kiln head chef Nick Molyviatis and ex-Sabor executive chef Jorge Paredes as well as wine buyer Emily Acha Derrington and sommelier Alessandara Tasca who are already part of the dcco. group fold. AGORA’s GM is Giulia Busato.

The food:​ AGORA is focused on meats – primarily pork, lamb and chicken – cooked on a two-metre charcoal rotisserie imported from Greece. Meals are intended to begin with wood-fired flatbreads served with house spreads. On weekends when volumes are higher, 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 sides of potatoes held below, to be garnished with crispy sage. Other side dishes will include braised beans, their flavour bolstered by the bones and offcuts generated by AGORA’s slow-grilling operation. Eventually, takeout will be offered directly from the front of the site to the hordes of people that pass by en route to the central bit of the market. Carter describes AGORA as “food for the people by the people” - there isn’t much on the menu that breaks the £10 mark. 

To drink:​ The drinks menu is tight with a focus on beer and wine on tap (although we understand that if one asks nicely they can order from OMA’s much more extensive list) and cocktails. Options for the latter include Apricot and Ginger Punch; Honey Basil Daiquiri and a frozen Margarita.

The vibe:​ Formerly Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot restaurant, the site that houses both AGORA and OMA is unusual. Backing into the covered part of Borough Market itself, it has a huge frontage but doesn’t go back very far and the ground floor is a good deal smaller than the first floor. AGORA – which holds 55 seated covers and a further dozen or so standing - and opens right onto the street thanks to a Crittall Windows shopfront that is so large, involved and expensive it had to be ordered and partly paid for before Carter had fully secured the lease. Designed by Box 9 Design, AGORA has an urban feel with interiors taking their cues from modern Greek colours and textures, with rendered stone walls combined with contemporary finishes in sleek steel and weathered bronze. 

And another thing:​ AGORA is inspired by the tavernas of Greece, most notably Diporto in Athens. Founded in 1887, the restaurant is within the Greek capital’s Varvakeios Central Municipal Market and is notable for its policy of not having a menu (the front of house team simply reel off the six or so dishes that are available that day).

2-4 Bedale Street, London SE1 9AL

Related topics Casual Dining

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