If you ever find me in Covent Garden, I’ll probably have theatre tickets and be grabbing a bite somewhere with a pre-theatre menu. I’m not sure if it’s the restricted menu or the quick to table service, but I always leave feeling a little less enthused after having a pre-theatre set menu.
With plans completely out of my hands one Saturday evening, I was surprised with dinner at Opera Tavern before seeing The Play That Goes Wrong. There wasn’t a pre-theatre menu in sight at Opera Tavern, though it is designed for pre-theatre goers, serving Italian and Spanish influenced tapas. We managed a total of 8 plates between two of us- 4 meat, 1 fish, 2 vegetable and 1 dessert to finish:
- Pan Fried Wood Pigeon Breast with Fried Scamorza, Black Fig and Sweet Onion (Scamorza is an Italian cow’s milk cheese like Mozzarella)
- Confit of Old Spot Pork Belly with Rosemary Scented Cannellini Beans
- Charred Lamb Cutlets with Peperonata, Crushed Chickpeas and Yoghurt (Peperonata is a dish of sweet bell peppers cooked in olive oil with onions, garlic and tomato originating from Southern Italy)
- Ham Croquettes with aioli
- Chargrilled Octopus with Chickpea Fritter, Red Pepper and Mojo Verde (Mojo verde is a sauce made from olive oil, pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin or coriander)
- Smoked Burrata with Porcini Mushrooms, Coco Beans & Brown Butter Migas (Migas are essentially bread crumbs)
- Patatas Fritas with Aioli and Bravas Sauce
- Cold Chocolate Fondant with Salted PX Caramel and Espresso Ice Cream
Most of the dishes were well cooked, presented and served in quick succession. The highlights for me were the wood pigeon, pork belly, octopus and smoked burrata. Each of them individually had a good combination of textures, colours and flavours, however, we noticed as the meal went on that pulses featured heavily and perhaps we could have done with less dishes containing chickpeas or any form or bean! The only real disappointment was the Patatas Fritas dish, which was served as a bowl of chips with sauces on the side and sadly the chips were quite average.
The restaurant itself is split over two floors with an impressive floor to ceiling rack of wine upstairs, dark green leather and wooden furniture and areas of exposed brickwork that gave it a slight rustic/ old library feel. The service was attentive and overall, even though this isn’t a blow-you-away amazing restaurant, it is a very good one and I enjoyed the tapas.
Area: Covent Garden
Rating: 3.8 / 5.0