Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dim Sum obsession at Opium

Opium, Chinatown – Enter with caution, highly addictive dim sum…

Finding the door way to this fabulously dark dim sum parlour is only half the battle – the other is getting past the burly bouncer on the door who will make you wait a couple of minutes while he checks his clipboard and radio’s upstairs on his fancy earpiece.  Thankfully, that all just adds to the drama and this place is definitely worth the wait.

Watch the stairs, they are dark…  But two flights up, you’ll enter the decadent den where there’s an awesome cocktail list on offer and even finer dim sum.

Perch yourself at the Apothecary bar where you’ll be amazed at the way Pat the barman invents drinks exactly to your taste at the bar, or mixes up some of the listed concoctions.  It’s worth ordering the Danxia Rose – kinda like one of the shows you’d expect to see in the movie ‘The Illusionist’.  It’s a ‘refreshing and floral merge of chivas regal 12 year old, campari, honey, schisandra tincture and hibiscus tea garnished with almond and orange blossom water’.  In other words, it’s so strong, it’ll knock your socks off and have you forgetting why you’re actually here, but served over dry ice in a cauldron with a metal straw, it’s absolutely worth ordering! As well as their amazingly innovative cocktail menu, there’s also a list of trusty favourites for the less adventurous, where you’ll find the classics - totally delicious Cosmo’s, Margherita’s and Espresso Martinis.

Once you’ve indulged in a cocktail or 7, there’s a great selection of dim sum on offer – our favourite was by far the Char Siu Bau (or Cantonese barbecue pork bun to you and I) – make sure you order enough of these as they're so deliciously more-ish.  Close seconds included the mushroom and truffle dumpling, the pork and prawn, and the crab and samphire, although to be honest, everything was ate was most definitely up to scratch.

Be sure to check out the private room down the hallway before you go which has the most amazing mood lighting and room enough for a good group of you, if you’re holding a special do.  And if you feel inspired to learn all about the art of cocktail making, then chat to the infectiously bubbly and charismatic cocktail extraordinaire and restaurant manager Esther Medina Cuesta, who will tell you all about the Cocktail Academy upstairs which is available for bookings of 5-12 people.

Opium is a gorgeous little find, chic, hidden and with an air of exclusivity, if you’re a dim sum fan, then this place will definitely be up your alley…  Remember - just look for the guy with the clipboard….and if you can make him smile, then the cocktails are on us!


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