TASTE TEST: Opera Grill, Chester

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Chester Standard)

A NIGHT at the Opera doesn’t come cheap!

The desperately stylish new Opera Grill restaurant screams sophistication from the second you walk through the door – and it comes with a price tag.

The decor suits the facade – a magnificent paladian edifice. It’s like walking into ultra-chic emporium with the island bar buzzing at the centre stage, closely followed by the sizzling grill with a fine range of meats and fish.

We quickly realise this isn’t just an upmarket place to dine, it’s the place to be seen with a bustling clientele eager to splash the cash.

We couldn’t get in at our desired time (8pm) so were invited to arrive at 9pm and have a drink on the house until our 9.30pm table on the swish roof terrace was ready.

It’s a generous start, considering our gin and tonic and gin and basil smash would have set us back £16.50. 

The extensive wine list has bottles for sale up to a nose-bleeding £2,500. 

Forty minutes later and we are led to our table. It’s a bit breezy with the roof open but there are infra-red heaters warming the diners – and blankets if needed. Nice touch.

The menu confirms the food is very pricey – but does it merit its price tag?

The service is attentive but I’d guess deliberately slow and relaxed. The ambience is that gentle hum of people relaxing and enjoying the company as much as the food and drink.

My wife’s roasted baby beets with buffalo ricotta, water cress and smoked seeds is ‘delicious’. Her tikka spiced wild redking prawn skewer with mint yoghurt was more of a slow burner. She initially looked dubious but by the consumption of her sixth and final plump juicy prawn, she declared herself won over.

My daughter was instantly taken with twice-cooked baby chicken with a chilli sauce and kaffir lime leaf salt.

I’d opted for the Aberdeen Angus burger with tres trendy triple-cooked chips at £12.50, spurning the Wagyu beef version at £19.50.

My daughter also had the triple-cooked chips (as the chicken dish was just chicken, with anything else extra). Both of us were underwhelmed with the chips which were below average rather three times as good. They arrived unsalted and the salt cellar didn’t work – and nor did the one on the next table.

My burger, which came with fermented cabbage and gherkins, was one of the best I’ve ever had,

We skipped deserts but they looked appetising with the creme brulee with raspeberry and yuzu sorbet catching the eye at £6.50. 

The food took a good 50 minutes to arrive and we had to ask for a finger bowl to go with the prawns – and when it came the water was cold. Poor – but a minor quibble that I suspect won’t be repeated.

The Opera Grill offers a dining experience that few can match but, unless your pockets are deep, I’d save it for a very special occasion.

How it rated:

  • Ambience 9/10
  • Service 8/10
  • Food quality 9/10
  • Children welcome – yes
  • Disabled access – yes 

See full story in the Chester Leader

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