It seems quite an obvious thing to have. A Vegetarian menu can demonstrate your commitment to vegetarians, but also to the produce you use and to the producers. You’re giving them a helping hand and saying here you go this is your time to showcase your wares. Little things help, not that I’m particular about restaurants of a certain Ilk not having a menu for me to peruse. Some of the best meals I’ve had have come off the cuff or from a limited menu of veggie goodness.
For Opus Restaurant on Cornwall Street I guess it makes sense to have a vegetarian menu, it allows their producers Worcester Produce scope to be given a platform to grow and perform and the chefs an opportunity to create menus that reflect seasonality like it should.
That’s an excellent philosophy from the field to the plate. Its one they own and do if you’ll allow me the indulgence, oh so well.
The Vegetarian menu was launced in January, initially to be changed every month, this has now been amended to a change every season. There is a market menu that changes more frequently also available.
Ruth and i visited on a Saturday evening, and from experience Opus tends to be busier on a Friday and Saturday evening and had a nice chatty atmosphere throughout the evening. Opus is an excellent choice for a celebration, but is relaxed enough for a chilled lunch or evening out.
We began in the large bar area at the rear of the restaurant in order to have a cocktail and look through the menus. We ordered an exemplary Dry Gin Martini, classily made by Thomas the bar manager with Hereford Chase Gin, who deserves a special mention for his hospitality and cocktail.
Dry and soothingly beautiful it was a mighty fine thing.
We both chose to eat from the Vegetarian menu which offers two Vegan dishes also.
We both thought the dish was stunning. A real taste of the winter season, where a gentle natural heat came through and demonstrated the versatility of the squash with Perfectly cooked tortellini, a luxurious dish of real quality and elegance.
We also both tried a second starter off the menu, as a pre-main course dish. The Asiette of Beetroot, textures of goats cheese.
This was a fine starter, that though wasn’t as stunning as the velouté before was full of the earthyness of the beetroot which woked well against the creamy goats cheese. An impressive starter which used the fantastic thinly sliced and striped sweet candy beet (from Worcester Produce) against the creamy soft goats cheese.
For her main course Ruth chose the wintry sounding Porcini mushroom risotto, crispy hens egg, sherry vinegar reduction.
A twist on the traditional Northern Italian dish was certainly a winner with Ruth. She loved the earthy intense nuttyness of the porcini (piglets).
She said it was perfectly executed, the risotto the right texture and the strong depth of flavour showed off the so called king of mushrooms well. The added hens egg on top gave it a creamy addition when broken into. A delicious rich dish, which on trying i concurred with. The ruling class of risottos.
I chose the beautifully sounding Celeriac, red onion and feta pithivier, baby spinach confit tomato and pearl barley sauce.
A pithivier is a classic French savoury pastry dish (I love pastry dishes) with a distinctive round shape and sunbeam pattern scored on top.
Beautifully presented, the contrasting ingredients worked well with the feta holding it all together to make a stunning winter pie that though large in size wasn’t heavy but had a light finish.
A real centrepiece dish which showed off the subtle but slightly nutty celeriac and confit tomatoes well.
A special mention to the Pearl barley sauce which gave the dish an extra wow factor.
We also ate some top notch chips as a side extra. Naturally they went perfectly with the pithivier.
We chose not to have a desert (but recommended) as we had enjoyed a pre main course, but chose to have two excellent double espressos and petit fours. These were ok, though not the best we’d had and were slightly underwhelming considering they were on the desert menu as a dish to buy. Could be improved.
After visiting Opus last year for their Vegetarian Source dinner with Worcester Produce i noted how much more the kitchen were becoming in creating interestingly different and creative Vegetarian dishes. How by using the great fresh seasonal produce you are able to get the best extracted from the season.
The chefs now seem more adept and positive in creating a menu that gives a permanent showcase for this produce and vegetarians a better and richer dining experience. The vegetarian menu at Opus is a natural progression from the Source dinner and one that makes Opus one of the best dining experiences in Birmingham for Vegetarians, and with a couple of Vegan options (though could be more) a restaurant for them to visit too. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Spring will bring to the plate and long may we enjoy the fruits of the producers such as Worcester Produce and Caroll’s Heritage Potatoes in Northumberland.
Opus is indeed a special restaurant in Birmingham and now for vegetarians maybe just essential dining.
Thanks for reading,
Disclaimer: our meal at Opus was complimentary. This does not affect my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.
Opus Restaurant, 54 Cornwall Street, Bitmingham, B3 2DE.
0121 200 2323
The next Vegetarian Source Dinner is on Friday 19th August 7pm with Worcester Produce. For my previous review, see the below link:
Previous reviews of Opus from Veggie Foodie: