Of angels

I first met Grishma as my friend Foram’s sister. She was leaving London just as I began my love affair with the city. Not before, and never since have I met anyone so intensely certain of where her destiny lay. I don’t know how easy or difficult it was for her, to shun the opportunities of London to move back to Bombay, but she did it with the glee of a child discovering a new toy. She said her angels had shown her the way. Yes, Grishma believes in angels. She sees them in lost pennies on forgotten sidewalks, and wisps of white feathers floating in the air. She even sees angels in the unexpected harsh words of close friends.

I believe in angels too. Only, I am less generous with the universe and need my angels to be tangible, loud and present. I need them to stamp their feet until I heed their call. Like when a near-stranger suggested I take a break from another Sunday at the office, to take time out for myself. He called back an hour later to make sure I wasn’t still at my desk. I needed an angel to remind me about The Important, not just The Urgent.

Opera Tavern is the perfect solution to a dreary, freezing January. It is brand new, but with the mood of a trusted old friend. It may be just me, but the sight of an open kitchen in a restaurant wins my instant affection. There is a beautiful “proper” restaurant one flight up but I chose to dine at the bar instead. Its a lovely room – dark wooden furniture, high ceiling, stools at the window to watch Covent Garden go by, and the inviting aroma of very good food.

The charming Emmanuelle wasted no time – smile, welcome, Prosecco, menu. With some help from him I got the ordering out of the way:

Crispy pigs ears (£3) – my favourite bar snack

Iberico pork skewers (£2.95) – yummy, but tiny

Mini Iberico pork and foie gras burger (£5.50) – gorgeous! The foie gently tickles exposes itself as you get on with the burger

Salsify salad with chestnuts & potatoes (£5.50) – an absolutely stunning dish

Seabass carpaccio (£7.50) – avoidable

Grilled salt cod (£7.50) – now you’re talking!

Opera Tavern has an extensive wine list and I settled for what they call a baby Amarone – a chocolatey Ripasso, La Salsette 2008 (£10.50).

As I nibble on the pigs ears in-between courses, I had to think more about my angels. Recently, they have been forcing me to change – or is it that they are trying to make me accept the change I am surrounded by? If this was five years ago or even two years ago I would have jumped ship. Research will show you that when most of us come face to face with our fears our instinct is to walk out the door we walked in through. Committing ourselves to the slightest change is more frightening than living with a bad situation. I have been so vehemently faithful to my view of the world that even a gentle suggestion of change put me in a state of panic.

I think its time I let my angels show me the emergency exit out of this fire. There is another way, and it doesn’t have to be scary.


Opera Tavern on Urbanspoon


Filed under Bar, Bar food, London, Open kitchen, Restaurant, Spanish, Tapas

6 responses to “Of angels

  1. Padmini

    A message here for someone… everyone…

  2. Grishma

    Thank you Thank you and I really pray that you encounter a real Earth Angel everyday of your life.

  3. Sara

    Hmmm… sounds like some hard choices ahead. Listening for those angel voices (which really only come from inside, and are much quieter and subtle than we all would wish for) is key; the good answers are rarely formulaic, linear, or obvious. Find stillness… and listen for what feels Good. You’ve got the wisdom, strength, and heart to get to that place – but you won’t get there without removing yourself (if only for a moment) from the “fray.”

    PS – Looking forward to dining with you someday soon – but I don’t think I’m ready for crispy pig’s ears.

  4. neela

    It’s nice to encounter an Angel and recognize that they were indeed one. I have had such angel encounters many years ago, during the worst times. I hope you find what you are looking for soon!

    I’ll have to tell my sister about this place- she’s currently in London, and am sure would like to try out something she may not have had before. Thanks for posting this review!

  5. grishma

    I am still enjoying this and on a bad day looking out for my lost angels……but they show me they are still around.Thank You again Pooj for this I can’t tell you how precious its been to my life.

  6. Grishma

    Read it again to remind myself how happy it made me reading this the very first time………many thanks again!

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