Friday, 8 August 2014

London weekend: Opera tavern, hot dogs and popcorn

If you live in London and I could encourage you to do one thing with your weekend it would be to go to Barnyard, which is very close to Goodge Street tube, and get a portion of popcorn ice cream with smoked fudge sauce to take away.  Or you could sit in of course - I'm not a dictator by any means.

I solemnly swear that, wherever else you go that day, this will be one of the nicest things you eat.

Right, now that's out of the way (my God but it was good though.  I mean, just amazing - sweet and creamy and salty and crunchy and...)  where else did we get to last weekend?  Which, actually, because I am writing this and scheduling it to pop up while I am on holiday (oh, the wonders of modern technology) is probably more like two weeks ago.  Time certainly does fly when you're doing something.

Oh, Opera Tavern.  Now this was a really nice place to while away a couple of hours.  It's tapas type food (we're still on a slightly Spanish kick) although some of it is more immediately recognisable as the type of dish you might order in Spain and some of it is is more "this is a small plate of food that we fancy cooking for you", if you see what I mean.  Almost to a dish it sounded lovely though.  We actually ended up veering towards familiar tapas favourites which just made me want to go back and sample some of the slightly less...can I use the word authentic?  No, it just makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about.  Let's just say, the other side of the menu.

The one dish that we'd read about prior to arriving was the Iberico pork and foie gras sliders.  And they really didn't disappoint.

I could have eaten a lot of these.  The pork was more deeply savoury than I usually associate with that meat, but was lifted by the sweetness of the foie.  Juicy, messy and seriously meaty, these were a delight.

Ah, but see here we have a selection of Spanish charcuterie and some gooey little croquettes with aioli and we're back on to familiar territory.

There was much about Opera Tavern to like - not least the wonderful service, with a disarmingly honest yet charming waitress who, despite having to deal with a very large party at latecomers, was still more than happy to chat about the menu, the restaurant and other Salt Yard venues as much as we could wish.  She particularly recommended Ember Yard as being worth a visit - something to bear in mind next time.

We agreed on this trip that we would both get to pick an establishment for lunch.  Opera Tavern was D's choice (well done D).  His wife, yet again, revealed herself to be an utter pleb at heart by opting for Bubbledogs over in Fitzrovia and what can she say?  She doesn't regret it one bit.

Yes, it's a total bloody gimmick.  Bubbledogs is a champagne bar with one of the most extensive fizz lists that I have ever seen.  Alongside the champagne, they dogs.  Yep, gourmet hot dogs with a variety of toppings, and sides of tots or sweet potato fries...and that is pretty much the extent of the menu.  I loved it.

The dogs themselves were top quality - well spiced with that pleasing snap that you are supposed to get when you bite into a hot dog skin, the toppings were generous, and the portion of tots we ordered to go alongside were inescapably moreish.

Given that they served a number of the champagnes by the glass for less than ten pounds, you could quite easily get a cheapish lunch in here.  We opted for a bottle, but there are a good range of prices, and some of the varieties are pretty unusual - plus, the waiter was quite happy to chat through different options without ever going for the hard sell.  As I said, gimmick - yes, but a charming and delicious one.  And they're the best sort.

18 Charlotte Street
London, W1T 2LY
020 7580 3842

Opera Tavern
23 Catherine Street
London, WC2B 5JS
020 7836 3680 

70 Charlotte Street
London, W1T 4QG
020 7637 7770


  1. Oh my god I'm going to find that ice cream when I get back!

  2. That ... ice-cream .... I think I stopped reading and started dribbling at that point ...