The fact that Bar Opus sits directly below my office means that I spend a lot more time there than I probably should. Scratch the probably; I need help.
But – although I’ve often eyed up other’s plates – everything I’ve previously consumed here has been of the liquid variety, so I decided it was high time I tried out the food.
In the throes of our week-long British summer, we start outside on the outdoor terrace. Nestled between the office buildings of Colmore Row and Snow Hill station, Bar Opus is a surprisingly good sun trap. Many a lunch time drink has taught me that the sun reflecting off the fancy glass office buildings means you get 360 degree tanning potential.
So, what to sip as you drink in the sunshine (or not)? As well as the usual suspects, Bar Opus change up their cocktail menu on a seasonal basis. Their current menu focuses on ‘sweet shop’ cocktails; think your favourite childhood sweets given a definitely-not-suitable-for-kids makeover.
We try the Drumstick (homemade raspberry and vanilla vodka, lemonade) and Pear Drop (Xante, fresh lime juice and tonic). Both are spot on matches to their namesakes and just as easy to drink, although they’re definitely only for those with a sweet tooth.
Plump mouthfuls of honey glazed chorizo melt on the tongue, whilst a pretty plate of figs, parma ham and cream cheese on sourdough is a little taste of summer.
First up foodwise are a selection of the bar plates (3 for £15). Plump mouthfuls of honey glazed chorizo melt on the tongue, whilst a pretty plate of figs, parma ham and cream cheese on sourdough is a little taste of summer. Forget Scampi Fries and pickled eggs, these plates take bar snacks up a level.
If you’re after something a bit more substantial Bar Opus also serve up larger plates. We go for the Grilled Fish of the Day and Asparagus Linguine (both £12.50).
Fish is perfectly cooked and full of flavour with a crisp skin. It’s accompanied by salad and grilled vegetables; the paprika and elderflower flavours were very subtle and perhaps could be a little stronger, but they were lovely regardless. The fresh summer vegetables add a satisfying bite to the Asparagus Linguine and lift the pasta to give a deceivingly light dish.
Given the location, Bar Opus will always be a popular drinking spot, but it’s definitely worth eating here as well. Bar Opus takes the best parts of their older sibling Opus (quality food, focused around sustainable, ethical British produce) and plonks it into a relaxed, casual setting. And it works. It really, really works.
Obviously I will still be consuming a lot of liquid here, but next time it will be everyone else enviously eyeing up my plate of food.
Review by Claire Tucker of @noshandbreksbhm for Grapevine Birmingham