Every source has a story.
That statement forms part of the ethos of Opus Restaurant on Cornwall Street, Birmingham City Centre.
The source dinner series of events that Opus run is a chance for customers to meet their suppliers and hear their compelling stories. Opus have a mission to promote their farmers, fisherman and wine makers, hence the vegetarian Source dinner with Worcester produce.
The source series introduces a food hero over four courses with wine.
As I’ve already explained in my previous blog post on Opus’ market menu and the Meat Free Monday menu at Cafe Opus, I’m a big fan of their vegetarian food and ethos which always means good seasonal veggie dishes.
Opus celebrates the freshest of ingredients, independent and market fresh produce allows the ingredients to dictate the menu and allows Opus to buy each day from their suppliers.
Fruit, salad and vegetables are grown in nurseries of Worcester Produce across the Vale of Evesham (Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Warwickshire) and were picked on day one and were with Opus on day two. The produce is nurtured by local farmers for nearly a year.
Ruth and I were pleased to be invited as guests of Opus Restaurant for this their first vegetarian dinner.
As a veggie this felt like pure Indulgence, not only to eat delicious vegetarian food, but to hear about the process from ground to kitchen, to fork. Something I’ve always been fascinated by as a keen grower of vegetables.
We arrived at Opus and were warmly greeted and shown to the bar area. Here we met other guests for the evening and were indulged with an aperitif and some home made nibbles.
Eventually, We were shown into the dining room and were seated on a large round table we shared with six other guests.
Bread was brought round and wine before the main meal. Wine was topped up throughout the dinner.
The Vegetarian Source dinner was a four course dinner with wine, structured that before each course the producer of the ingredients used would give a short introductory talk into the mechanisms of growing the ingredients, the nurturing, and indulge us with stories of their motivations and history. This was a lovely intimate way to feel closer to the produce and producer, and it set up the meal well.
The first course was the Sautéed King Oyster and maitake mushrooms, creamed tarragon, crispy rocket and crouton.
I’d not heard of maitake mushrooms before, but the Japanese name means ‘dancing mushroom’ and grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. Can be known as hen-of-the-woods.
It was a gutsy and meaty dish, with a really deep flavour and colour of mushrooms. The two mushrooms complimented each other well and when set with the creamy tarragon made an almost soupy texture, which worked really well. A lovely dish and testament to the grower Tim Livesey who is so passionate about his produce.
The second course was a warm Pablo Cabrita goats cheese custard on whole grain granary biscuit, Pixley Court black berries, salted and caramelised walnuts.
The Pablo Cabrita goats cheese is made by Sarah Hampton in Bridgenorth .
The dish was delicious, the goats cheese was creamy, set like a custard, and packed with flavour. The best goats cheese I’ve ever had. Set with the summery sweet berries and crunch of the walnut it made my favourite dish. The goats cheese worked well on the granary biscuit which gave it an almost desert like texture. Lovely. A high quality dish and produce.
The third course was a Roasted celeriac tortellini, baby beets, kale, heritage carrots, beurre blanc, pumpkin seeds, and pumpernickel granola.
I loved this dish, the handmade tortellini, had a smooth celeriac flavour, quite different, but then with the fresh crunch of some amazing vegetables made for a pretty and beautifully executed veggie main course. The freshness of the veg was apparent and the flavours were complimentary to the silky pasta. It worked well.
The final course, the desert, was delicious. It was called the ‘Celebration of the Victoria plum’ trio served with almond Tuille, sorbet mousse, poached. A summery dish, a ode to the plum. Packed full of flavour, simple in construction but as it says a celebration of Victoria plums in all their glory. A dish to end the meal on a high.
Note that all vegetables and plums are grown within a ten mile radius of Pershore.
The Opus Source Vegetarian felt like a triumph. It was very well attended by both vegetarians and meat eaters, and it felt a privilege to be invited and to experience such passion and enthusiasm for vegetables and fruit produce.
The dishes served made the best of the great produce and Opus once again showed that they understand vegetarian food, that the freshest ingredients are central to good vegetarian cooking. One can only hope that next year Opus Restaurant do it all over again. Ruth and I will certainly be there.
Produce grown with pride, and eaten with pride.
An evening to savour.
For details of the remaining source series dinners see Opus’ website
For all menus including the daily market menu see also the website.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Opus Restaurant. We didn’t pay for the evening. All views and opinions are my own and honest. I was not required to write a positive review.
54 Cornwall Street