Tapas is a tricky style of cooking to get right. I rarely feel satisfied by it, too greasy, or bland, and little variation. However I must congratulate ‘Opera Tavern’ for cracking the problem with their supreme menu of delightful dishes. The restaurant is located in Covent Garden amongst the theatres, and opened in January, only a few months ago. They already have a keen following and are fully booked most nights. Get there early to snatch one of the first-come-first-served bar places, which is how I managed to eat here a few nights ago.
The mini Iberico pork and fois gras burger seems to be the most enticing treat on the menu – I’ve read reviews that only talk about this signature dish! It is absolutely sensational, arranged in a little toasted bun with sweet onions, a lettuce leaf and a touch of creamy aioli… I devoured it within seconds. It is always best to have too little, and be left wanting more – Opera Tavern’s mini burgers left me wanting so much more I had to order another after finishing the main course.
Other divine dishes include: chargrilled chicken with chorizo, curly kale and Jerusalem artichokes… a delicious mix of fresh ingredients, stacked in sizzling red chorizo jus. Spring green vegetables with ricotta gnocchi, wild garlic pesto and pinenuts is a healthy accompaniment that is packed full of flavour and contrasting textures. We also enjoyed the fried young artichokes with poached egg and a smoked garlic and shallot vinaigrette. Each plate is small, and costs about £5/6 so you can have as few or many as you want. Be warned, you WILL get serious food envy as you watch other choices being delivered to adjacent diners.
I was quite full after our selection of savouries, but too tempted by the dessert menu to resist so my companion and I shared the pannacotta with Clementine sorbet and blood orange granita. It was without doubt the best dessert I have ever tasted (I have tasted a LOT of desserts). Beautifully presented in a glass with curly, icing sugar dusted biscuits to accompany. The silky homemade pannacotta is flavoured lightly with vanilla pod and is creamy without feeling to heavy and rich. On top sits a delicate ball of melting pale orange sorbet, sweet with a touch of citrus, shards of brighter red granita sparkling through, a unique and exceptional combination.
When we left at 7.30 the sun was still shining bright, so we strolled back to the car and reminisced about the perfect evening. I absolutely loved everything about Opera Tavern, I think it might just become my new pre-theatre hang out.
Visit website and book here.