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Having firmly cemented its reputation as one of Birmingham’s finest restaurants, Opus - located on the desirable Cornwall Street - is soon to enter its 14th year of trading.
The restaurant boasts two AA rosettes for culinary excellence and is mentioned in both the Michelin Guide 2017 and this year’s Waitrose Good Food Guide. With that in mind, it’s no wonder this chic and contemporary fine-dining establishment has become one of the city’s most popular restaurants.
Back in June 2017, the eatery decided to scrap individual prices on its à la carte menu and introduce a fixed price for two-course and three-course dining. At a cost of £30 for two courses and £35 for three, the change has enabled Opus’ customers to enjoy quality food at more affordable prices. Given the UK’s current economic state, where the cost of just about everything is on the rise, the switch to fixed prices has undoubtedly been a welcome one.
Opus is well known for selling more oysters than any other restaurant in the city, so naturally we ordered a dozen as an appetiser. Showcasing a mix of sweet, rich and nutty flavours, the Carlingford rock oysters, served with horseradish, shallot vinegar and lemon, were the perfect delicacy with which to whet our appetite for the stunning food that was to follow.
To start, I ordered the boneless Cotswold white chicken wings, served with a caramelised cauliflower puree, roasted florets, crispy skin and a split sauce. The chicken was soft and delicate, the perfect contrast to the salty, crispy and downright delicious skin. The creamy and strong-flavoured puree acted as a winning accompaniment to the florets and leaves, giving additional textures and bursts of contrasting colour to the dish.
My partner’s selection of confit duck terrine served with English radishes, orange textures and seasonal leaves was again a fantastic choice. The terrine itself was of a decent size and showcased a strong and meaty duck flavour. Orange and duck is a tried-and-tested flavour combination - and boy, does it work well.
Both presented beautifully, these were two exceptionally good starters which set the bar high for the remaining two courses.
Reading through the main course options, there wasn’t a single thing that I wouldn’t have been happy to devour. After much deliberation, I opted for the seared Brixham scallops and confit pork belly. The scallops were divine and of a reasonable size - I often find restaurants skimp on this. They were cooked perfectly - sealed nicely on the outside yet soft on the inside and showcasing just the right amount of seasoning. The pork belly, tender and full of flavour, sat on a bed of salt baked celeriac, softly cooked green apple pieces, raw green apple shavings and the most delicious little morsels of black pudding and crackling pieces. The dish was seriously good - a work of art both in flavour and presentation.
My partner chose the equally-as-flavoursome duo of highland venison, comprising one part roasted loin, one part a hearty hot pot. The perfectly cooked loin was served with creamed kale, toasted oats & seeds, crispy onions, butternut squash and a rich sauce. The hot pot, which was also deliciously rich, was served in a separate pot and topped with thinly sliced potato - the ultimate comfort food!
Alongside the exceptional cuisine, the service at Opus is second to none; the staff are friendly, knowledgable and informative. Each member of the team, including the manager, took time out of their evening to chat with us and really make us feel at home. This deserves a big tick in my book.
Choosing from a warm treacle tart, a steamed orange fruit sponge and a vanilla creme brûlée, amongst other options, we concluded our first Opus experience by selecting a baked cinnamon cheesecake and a lemon panna cotta for dessert. The cheesecake, served with poached Evesham pear, Chantilly and brandy snaps, was smooth and creamy and sat on a tasty, caramel-like sauce. I’m not a massive lover of cinnamon but the subtle flavour was spot on and not too overpowering. The sweet flavours from the pear and Chantilly were the perfect accompaniment.
The lemon panna cotta, served with almond cake, lemon syrup, tuille and honeycomb, was another fresh and attractive plate of food, providing a fantastic end to a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Opus may serve fine-dining food but they certainly don’t serve it in typically teeny fine-dining portion sizes. Thirty-five pounds for three courses of high-quality cuisine is great value for money given the status of the restaurant. The flavours were exquisite, and every course showcased fantastic technical ability.
Without a shadow of a doubt, I will be returning to Opus in the near future to sample more dishes from their exceptional menu.
Review by Lauren Foster
Overall value ★★★★★
Opus, 54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham, B3 2DE
Tel: 0121 200 2323
Posted on Thu 23 May
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