It has until recently been a bit tricky for the city’s professionals to find a place for post-work drinks. Yes there have been plenty of pubs in the business district, but they’re of the sticky carpet variety generally. Over the past eighteen months though we’ve had open three super venues that offer something for everyone from the secretary to the CEO – Pure for craft lagers and beers and an airy industrial loft feel, Bureau for fancy cocktails and architectural glory, and now Bar Opus for wine, beer, dinner, and chic decor. From the team that brought you Restaurant Opus and Café Opus, Bar Opus is a fashionable addition to the business district offering food and drink from dawn to dusk, and onwards to bedtime. We’ve done some very thorough (hic hic) research on the bar, and the food menu so thought it was time we filled you in.
Let’s start with Breakfast. We cycled in to town one cold Saturday morning in December to meet the Bike To Breakfast bunch to have a fry up. I ordered the full English (£9.50), obviously. The fried egg was gooey and seasoned with glistening sea salt crystals, and the tomato and mushroom were tasty (and they’d cored the tomato which is a big tick, I don’t understand chefs who insist on serving me tomato core – who wants to eat that!). The main event though of the full English was the bacon, a fairly hunky slice of gammon that had a lovely smoky bacon flavour. It also came with two types of sausage, one with brown sauce in it which I particularly liked, one with black pudding. We thought the toast was a bit disappointing but we’ve been told since by recent patrons that we should now expect lovely artisan stuff. We also tried the poached haddock brûlée (£8.50), a cheesy creamy sauce with smoky chunks of haddock and a golden grilled top.
Throughout the day there are a variety of dishes on offer including devilled kidneys (£7.50), slow braised pig cheeks (£10.50), and crab linguine (£12.95). In to the evening you can nip in and as well as the normal menu you can have a sharing plate, meat (£14.50), fish, and veggie. We stopped by for snacks with friends and tried the blue cheese arancini (balls of risotto breaded and golden fried) with a hot mustard dip (which my friend thought was too hot, but I’m sure they could offer something else if asked). We also had the sliders (mini burgers), and a meat sharer plate. All good. Chef Gareth will be happy to advise what specials are on, and the lovely waiting staff including Sofia will serve you even if you’re being a prize pillock (yes, tipsy obnoxious businessmen who were sat at the kitchen bar, I’m talking to you).
Obviously after a hectic day in the office, or Saturday shopping, a drink or two is required. They won’t disappoint, whether it’s a cool Bar Opus lager, a glass of wine from the wide selection, or a fancy cocktail from the list or made specially by head barman Sam. They are also one of the few venues that now serve the local Langley’s No. 8 Gin which has hit the global spirits market by storm getting a 4.5/5 from Gifford’s. They have a range of homemade syrups and infusions for your own special cocktail to be invented – maybe a seven layered tall drink with candy cane pink syrup. Some of the cocktails we had have been really super and easily some of the prettiest in town, do try and go off menu for something really exciting. While you’re spending you can also save by getting one of the Bar Opus loyalty cards, and ours is already mounting pounds.
There are a number of places that I classify as my favourites and this one has already made the list. Well done Irene, Ann, and David for pulling off another successful venue.