Hornchurch restaurant with rooftop dining inspired by owner's Albanian roots
- Credit: Chantelle Billson/Elena Karamani
An Albanian restaurateur has followed in her dad’s footsteps to start an eatery where people can “enjoy everything in one place”.
Onyx Restaurant and Bar owner Elena Karamani has been living in Hornchurch for the last 12 years after moving from Albania to the UK, where she met her husband Sokrat, 42.
The couple now have a two-year-old and a five-year-old and, adding to the job of motherhood, Elena launched Onyx in October 2019.
Owning a restaurant was always on the cards for this 29-year-old, whose dad owns three hotels in Albania – the country that inspired her restaurant's menu.
Growing up across the sea from Milan meant Elena would frequently eat Italian food.
The current menu, which launched earlier this month, features a few of Elena’s favourite dishes - costolleta d’angello, which is lamb cutlets cooked in a red wine reduction and served with homemade roast potatoes, and tagliatelle alla gigi, a pasta cooked with fresh shrimps, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, white wine rocket and buffalo cream.
Onyx also offers a range of entertainment.
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Elena said: “I wanted to bring to customers something different.
“Somewhere where they can come in and enjoy everything in one place, so they can have entertainment, the cocktail bar, great food, a roof terrace and music.”
At the top of the restaurant, a rooftop terrace and bar provide space for diners to eat alfresco.
Bottomless brunches are also available, with past events including a Galentine’s Day bottomless brunch for Valentine's Day.
Live entertainment is put on every Thursday through to Sunday - Thursdays are a “big event”, according to Elena.
“I have dancers, fire girls and DJs for the younger crowds and people who are looking for a place to be on a Thursday and I don’t think anyone else does anything like this in the area,” she said.
Elena added: “We’ve tried to interlock all ages with everything we offer, we have Instagram-able places and then quality wood that grounds it more to the older generation, so it’s a place for all generations.
“A lot of customers, once they get to know us, become like family."