Intent on combining opera and food, this Parisian export ensures there will be no awkward silences during your meal!
Following the success of two Bel Canto’s in Paris, their lyrical brand of dining can now be had in the heart of London. The ‘audience’ feast on food inspired by South West France whilst listening to a series of arias from some of the worlds most celebrated operas. To be honest, neither the missus nor I have the slightest bit of operatic knowledge, but this was a truly memorable meal. The performers are apparently professional singers and aspiring students of an exceptional standard; judging by the positive reaction of some of the more knowledgeable looking guests, I have no reason to disagree.
The classic French menu is simple, appealing and ideal for relaxed eating. Miss Pancake started with a lovely goats cheese with tapenade, ricotta and honey, whilst the reviewer in me decided to go with the waiter’s recommendation of snails in a mushroom veloute. The verdict? My taste buds were saying “mmm…lovely, warming, garlicky, and the snails are totally agreeable” whilst my head was saying “what the hell are you doing…you’re eating bloody snails!” Let’s just say I’m over my snail phase, but it really was quite good. Mains were a much safer affair. Both the rack of lamb and the fillet of beef with fois gras were well cooked and tasty. For desserts, the rum baba with vanilla bourbon ice cream featured a light yet richly flavoured sponge, whilst the rich Bailey’s crème brûlée included melt-in-your-mouth chocolate meringues.
The interior is reminiscent of France’s famous salons, with a colour scheme of rich reds and shimmering gold, whilst individually lit tables with low lamps creates an intimate atmosphere. The service is refreshingly laid back, yet attentive and incredibly charming.
Dinner is priced at £55/head, which is not bad when you consider the quality of the Opera and the length of time you can while away there. Our three-hour meal simply flew by due to a mixture of fun and captivating performances matched with good food and wine. In fact, as per their nightly ritual, we were even presented with a glass of prosecco and encouraged to join in near the end of the night!
Cuisine type – classic French
Dinner for 2 (ex. drinks) – £110
Wine – £6
Mincer Court Pavement
London, EC3R 7AA