The Opera Tavern
Formerly a traditional English pub, The Opera Tavern is now an elegant two-storey restaurant and bar in London’s Covent Garden, specialising in Spanish-Italian cooking. Head chef Jamie Thickett has created a menu that gives tapas dishes an inventive new lease of life where, for example, traditional Italian ingredients are cooked with an authentic Catalan twist.
The produce is responsibly sourced (of course) from organic or free-range farms in England and Wales. And, while the meat is cooked to perfection on the charcoal grill visible behind ground floor bar, there are also some delicous vegetable dishes, like courgette flowers that have been stuffed with Monte Enebro goats’ cheese and drizzled with honey or patatas fritas with a mouthwatering aioli and bravas sauce on the menu. Here, you could find anything from braised Iberico pig’s cheeks served with squash puree, Swiss chard and caramelised baby onions to roasted salt cod with saffron-cauliflower puree, parsley butter and caramelised cauliflower. The bar snacks, meanwhile, put those found in lesser restaurants to shame. There are salty, smokey padron peppers, blushing pink slices of prosciutto and chunks of rosy spicy chorizo, grilled flatbreads, Spanish and Italian olives, and more. You name it, they probably serve it.
The casual, yet refined setting of The Opera Tavern is filled week-round with diners drawn from the massed ranks of theatre-goers, foodies and tourists, which makes the atmosphere increasingly lively as the evening progresses.