When my parents were in town last week to see Shakespeare in Love, which by the way they loved and thoroughly recommend, they took me to dinner afterwards.
We met at the Opera Tavern for a tapas meal. I love the concept of tapas, being a greedy pig it appeals to be able to try a little of everything! We were seated in the upstairs dining room, which has more room for large parties. Downstairs there is a bar you can sit at and some smaller tables.
We started off with smoked almonds and fried peppers – eating these is a little like Russian roulette – about one in ten is a hot one! We also got the flatbread with rosemary butter. The menu is split into platters for charcuterie and cheese, items from the grill, including the fabulous foie gras burger and then other plates split into meat, fish and vegetables (including salads). You are meant to order 2/3 plates each and share, but when the scallop is literally one scallop it’s a little difficult to share it between three!
After some umming and ahhing we finally ordered a selection of charcuterie and small plates across the meat/fish/vegetable spread.
From top left: Heritage tomato salad with Parmesan cream, the Spanish charcuterie board, Cornish crab with samphire, chargrilled octopus with chickpea fritter & mojo verde.
As you can tell from the half eaten pictures, everything was really tasty – I had to fight people off to get photos! Everything from the recommended foie gras burger to the salads was beautifully prepared and flavoured. Eaten but not seen above were lamb chops, mini burger with foie gras, pork belly, chargrilled quail, courgette flowers and a roasted beetroot salad (description doesn’t do it justice!)
With the meal we drank Albariño and beer (depending on people’s taste). When it came to dessert all the desserts were paired with a sweet wine, sherry or port. So of course I had to try….
Chocolate fondant with salted caramel (to die for!) and expresso ice cream – this was paired with a glass of sherry.
We left the meal stuffed and happy, but was it value for money? Well my parents didn’t think so – they are used to spending an equivalent amount on a more traditional meal with three courses, and for me (currently unemployed!) it was a lot to spend on a meal even with the traditional format and half bottle of wine each. However it was a great experience and if the larger ‘main’ plates had been more competitively priced at around £7 or those single scallop/courgette flowers were actually plates you could share, it would have felt better value.
Would I be back? Possibly! But I may have a better strategy to attack the menu – their group deals at £35/£40 a head seem good value.
Opera Tavern is on Catherine Street near Aldwych. You can find their website here.
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