23 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JS
WLC Rank : 194
Glass from : £ 5.00 (175 ml)
BEST FORSherry and fortified Spanish wines
Characterful Theatreland setting
Perching at the bar with a glass of aged Viura
Perfume could be the best word to capture the essence of a list populated by grapes such as Bombino Bianco, Fiano, Gewurztraminer, Primitivo and Pinot Noir. Explaining the presence of rarities and oddities, the drinks list is a combined effort between the owners, operations managers and bar managers.
The sister restaurant of Salt Yard, Ember Yard and Dehesa, former pub, the Opera Tavern is, with exposed brickwork and restfully low lighting, a charming two-storey bar and restaurant in the heart of theatre land opposite Drury Lane Theatre.
Savour snacks of morcilla scotch egg, boquerones and charcuterie at the long, wooden bar counter overlooking the intriguing wines shown, tantalisingly, in fridges and mirrored on shelves, or take tapas at a table, which may include prawn ravioli with cime di rapa and piquillo bisque, Italian white onion purée, smoked anchovies and crumbly migas, a classic tortilla, or a grilled onglet from the sweet smelling charcoal grill. For pudding, try the whipped lemon mascarpone with oat biscuit, blackberries and thyme, the Frangelico chocolate mousse with stracciatella ice cream with macerated cherries and almond brittle, or order a strong, PX doused affogato.
Consider a chilled artisan Cava, sparkling Nebbiolo, chic Franciacorta or, poured from height into fizzed submission, Basque Txakoli, which is offered, wittily, alongside the wares of more conventional Champagne houses.
A full page of sherries plus a chestnut aged muscatel are available as a 75ml serve or larger, while a range of Spanish gin and tonics, such as the ‘Siderit’, described as ‘complex and aromatic, distilled using raw Marcona almonds, Hibiscus and Iris root’ make good thirst quenchers come summer. Alternatively, the carefully raised selection of Spanish and Italian cheeses are worth a visit in their own right.
In terms of still wines, perfume could be the best word to capture the essence of a list populated by grapes such as Bombino Bianco, Fiano, Gewurztraminer, Primitivo and Pinot Noir alongside more gutsy Toro, the odd Super Tuscan and a top Alto Adige red. Explaining the presence of rarities and oddities, the drinks list is a cooperative effort between the owners, operations managers and bar managers.
Finally, a rich seam of Spanish brandy, grappa and Marsala, plus a thoughtful carte of tea, including Wok Fired Green Leaf, and Cuba Cumanayagua 360 coffee make this a hard venue from which to want to depart from.
Incidentally, all restaurants under the Salt Yard mantel offer complimentary corkage on Mondays.
By Douglas Blyde.