Bar Opus is the youngest sister in the Opus family that includes Opus on Cornwall Street and Cafe Opus at the Ikon Gallery.
The other week Ruth and I were invited by Anne Tonks of Opus along to try out some of their vegetarian options.
Bar Opus is at No’ 1 Snowhill in Birmingham City Centre, a new complex behind Snow Hill Station that is next to the new Midland Metro team line which should be complete shortly. It has a nice terrace that is primed for Summer and its reincarnation into something more uber cool in the forthcoming months, imagine those long cocktails, bar snacks and lazy afternoons. It’s a sun trap in the day and a lunch time favourite.
In fact Bar Opus is very continental with its open kitchen and smart decor. Inside its modern, stylish, and has slick lines, in its simple design. It has cosmopolitan floor to ceiling windows, and is filled with thoughtful touches like its internal Parisian like clock face, and it’s well lit interior. With a mix of bar stool seating and low bearing tables it lends itself equally to drinking and eating.
The menu a mixture of bar snacks/plates to eat with those delicious handcrafted cocktails or quality wines or as a starter.
Bar Opus has an extensive Breakfast and all day menu and more substantial dishes for lunch time indulgence. The sharing bar plates are varied and with good vegetarian options is one of the best places for informal veggie dining in the city.
The Opus family of restaurants have a real skill in making simple ingredients and dishes taste well above the average, and it’s in their ingredient led principles where the flavours begin. The produce though is only half the story, it still has to be cooked and created into an irresistible dish which Bar Opus do well, simplicity in itself.
For example our Asparagus, and Hollandaise from their specials menu was cooked perfectly, the dish sang and I feel may not be beaten this Asparagus season, it had a beauty of flavour, creamy, every element cooked perfectly, a real delight. Simple but hard to do in the wrong hands.
To follow I tried the homemade flatbread with daily vegetarian special. The flatbread, again perfectly indulgent, not over cooked, light, fluffy, with a delicious red onion jam which gave a punch to the dish and combined with feta worked perfectly. Plus, in its generous size makes a good starter alone or generous sharing plate to tear between friends.
To finish our meal I ate the Shashouka Hash, a very popular dish on their all day menu, and one that makes a lovely brunch or lunch dish too. Wilted Greens, rich vine tomato compote, potato cake, and fried egg. The fresh ingredients again shine through, the egg perfectly runny, the tomatoes full of flavour, lifted the dish from heaven to the space that surely must be above that in the veggie foodie world. Warming potatoes and the wilted buttery greens, completed the dish, which I think is a vegetarian must when visiting Bar Opus to eat. Again a simple dish brought to ex halted heights due to the quality of ingredients and the quality of the cooking.
The Shashouka Hash
The vegetarian Flatbread.
Yet, Bar Opus isn’t just about the food, but also the cocktails and a fantastic wine list.
I tried on the night a beautiful Smoked Negroni. Now a negroni always reminds me of Italy. Lazy evenings in Florence, Rome or Venice. Though I’d never had a smoked variety which came to the table theatrically smoking and yes winking at me. It was delicious, part gin, part vermouth, and then Campari. I think Bar Opus make the best Negroni in the city and if like me you love this drink, then try it here. It’s an aperitif, and a classic.
Ruth and I also loved the glasses of Pinot Gris we had with our food. From New Zealand, Dr Renwick, it was light, and complimented the informality of the food perfectly. Lovely.
Bar Opus also have a good selection of beers, craft ales and real ale.
The service throughout was excellent, and was warm, attentive and consistent throughout.
Bar Opus is a smartly appointed bar with trendy background music and at times an office like clientele, but don’t let that put you off.
It’s sophistication is in doing the simple things well. A mixologist that knows a cocktail from, well, a cocktail. A chef that knows how to get the best out of well sourced seasonal ingredients and creates delicious simple dishes that make you feel hungry even though you may not be. So be tempted.
Though the cocktails are the pull, the ace on top the pack of cards is the food, a thoughtful concept, and a gentle buzz, a European bar after work, but please don’t tell David Cameron because he may close it down, European Moir…for vegetarians its up their with the best Birmingham can offer, good dishes made well, decent choice, well made, sound drinks.
And with the Summer approaching a place to chill outside and take in the sun, hopefully.
Bar Opus is an all day venue that you may not leave, I like it, so do others, it’s the city bar redefined.
Now where are my Euros.
Bar Opus, One SnowHill, Birmingham, B4 6GH.
My previous review of Bar Opus.
We were invited to Bar Opus to review some of their vegetarian dishes. Our food was complimentary, but we paid for our own drinks. My review is independent of the invite and is honest and carries my own opinions as always.
Thanks to Ann for the invite and Sam and Gail for their service and passion for their menus.
Thanks for reading.