Lunch is a serious subject. Whether it’s the luxury of eating at Carters of Moseley, Turners of Harborne or Purnells Bistro (I’ve tried all those) or the informality of Bodega and Amantia its a serious subject. One not to be undertaken (unless it’s at your desk) lightly. Cafe Opus takes lunch seriously, not in a fine dining kind of way, but by providing that informality one feels comfortable in right away and one that suits the Ikon Gallery where it resides down to the ground.
Cafe Opus is the little brother of big Opus, Restaurant that is on Cornwall Street and of the young whippersnapper Bar Opus near Snow Hill Station. What they all have in common is the keen response to seasonal ingredients, sourced locally, market fresh and of a consideration to Vegetarians and Vegans in their menus.
Ruth and I stopped by to try their all day 2 course for £10.50 menu (available Tuesday to Saturday) after a look around the Ikon Gallery.
The menu includes a good choice of Vegetarian dishes and some Vegan options. It’s an all day menu that offers brunch dishes, sandwiches and light bites as well as more substantial mains.
The first thing that you find at Cafe Opus is how light floods the room and how relaxed the restaurant feels. With original art on the walls and a quirky informal seating arrangement that is more cafe than formal dining the modern dishes on offer perfectly fit the gallery vibe and is ideal for a lunch whilst visiting.
The 2 course menu is ideal for lunch or for an early evening supper. It includes homemade soup of the day to start (always a vegan version) and any dish off the menu for £10.50.
For our starter we both ordered the Mushroom Soup.
The deep mushroom flavours came through, perfectly seasoned with chunky mushrooms adding a rich texture to the creamy warmth. Lovely. A near perfect soup.
On the other hand the bread was beyond dry and possibly the worst I’ve witnessed in a restaurant/cafe for years. It was fairly inedible and would have been better made into croutons. It’s beyond why it came out of the kitchen to be honest.
For my main course I ordered the Vegan friendly Penne Pasta tossed in Basil Pesto with wilted rocket and sun blushed tomatoes.
Now imagine sitting in an Italian square In the sunshine with a glass of wine. Sun beating down, loads of time, a bowl of pasta in front of you. This light pasta dish had that same kind of sunny easiness about it.
Take a good flavoured light coating of basil pesto and mix with wilted rocket and sweet and succulent sun blushed tomatoes, toss with well cooked penne and you have simple dish that spoke to me of sunnier days and not the grey showery one that greeted me outside. An escape to the Med on a drizzly day, with a glass of red wine, happiness.
Ruth ordered the Brixham Fish Pie for her main course which she said was lovely, with well cooked fish, though this again came with the aforementioned stale bread which was a shame.
We also ordered a couple of large glasses of wine. A good plummy red Pinot Noir for me and a glass of white Sauvignon Blanc for Ruth.
Cafe Opus is an excellent place for lunch for vegetarians. The dishes on offer are of a high standard, Flavours marry together and the informality of the cafe makes it ideal for a relaxed break after a visit to the gallery or during a wander around Brindley Place. The service is friendly and with smoothies on the menu a healthier juicy option is available on drinks.
The fact that the menus change seasonally is also good for repeated visits and the terrace on a nice day begs to be lingered over. Hey, if I close my eyes I can even imagine that it’s Italy. After all lunch (and terraces) are a serious subject.
Thanks for reading,
Cafe Opus is at the Ikon gallery, 1 Oozells Street, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2HS.
We paid for our meal and drinks in full. All opinions are honest and my own as always.