I had wanted to go to one of the Salt Yard group restaurants for a long time – sharing little bites of tastiness with friends is one of my favourite eating experiences.
Luckily when we go out, the girls are very chilled and are happy to let me, the control freak, choose the venue.
So last week we went to Opera Tavern in Aldywch/Covent Garden. The five of us were sat upstairs in a lovely, dark, cosy room which had a really buzzy atmosphere.
This place is perhaps a little pricier than those we would usually eat out at mid-week but we were celebrating a special occasion so planned to splash out a bit more.
And, oops, we got a bit carried away!
One of the girls is eight months pregnant and subconsciously I think we all decided to support her that night and also eat for two (or three)!
We thought we’d just order a few things to keep us going while we chose the more substantial food. A charcuterie board, cheese board, squid pinchos with samphire, chorizo and bread and oil all duly arrived. Yes, there were only five of us (plus the bump) … and this was just the beginning.
It all looked SO GOOD!
Next we sampled the roast pork belly with rosemary-scented cannellini beans (x2), scotch eggs (x2), squid arancini, Italian tomatoes with grilled courgette, parmesan cream and polenta.
The portions are quite small, considering the price, but the flavours and presentation were beautiful. The staff were really attentive, taking our orders quickly, replacing our plates and topping up our drinks.
But their recommendations of patatas bravas (x2) and braised guinea fowl with olive oil mash were perhaps a step too far. Obviously we forced them down, ha ha, and it was totally worth it.
This might sound like a slightly overindulgent meal but in the 10 years I have known these girls this has somehow become the pattern of our dinners.
From when we used to cook kilos of pasta when we were students living together in Nottingham – to a holiday in Bordeaux where we decided it would be disrespectful to French cuisine not to cook ourselves three separate starters…
Our love of food (and wine) has got us through many a drama, heartbreak, celebration and hangover over the years.
I really do think eating together and sharing food is one of the most enjoyable things in life. I guess that’s why I started Mere Morsels.