We were invited along to Opium for a spot of dinner on Saturday night. I had read the LovinDublin review so I was really looking forward to it!
They did not disappoint. First thing, they have an amazing atmosphere: it’s dark and sultry inside, then they go and seduce you with the food and cocktails!
They've an open kitchen so you can see the chef work. Personally, I love this because the chopping board's fascinate me... Well, not the board but the actual chopping without losing fingers!
The menu has a great selection for the gluten free diner. The “C” is clearly marked. 9 out of the 12 starters were available and 9 out of the 15 mains. Only 3 out of the 10 sides are marked and none of the desserts but there are actually options so do check with your server. As a gluten free diner you always need to tell your server. Some of the "C" markings are indication that the dish is adaptable! "CA" would be handy to have on the menu but I've only noticed that on the Brasserie Sixty6 menu. I beg you: tell your server so that everyone is on the same page!
We got some sparkling water for the table, which came in their own bottle. It's their own sparkling water on tap. I'm not normally a huge fan of sparkling water but whatever they do to this makes it quite tasty! We were asked if we wanted some prawn crackers brought to the table while we were waiting on our meal. I was quite hesitant: I don’t have a good history with them but Clinton, a manager, advised that they’re made from tapioca flour and therefore gluten free. I didn’t actually have them but it’s nice to have the option! On the starter menu there is an option that I really had to query. The Vietnamese Rolls. They’re actually made using rice paper! Clinton was extremely helpful throughout our meal and explained so much of the menu. Top staff here!
Our starters arrived and although lemongrass chicken was good, really good, I was coveting my other halfs BBQ ribs… They literally melted off the bone and tasted like heaven. I admit it: I was stealing from his plate. A little… OK… A lot! They tenderize their meat with guava juice. It’s melt in the mouth good.
On another note, I absolutely love the plates. They have a textured surface that prevents the sauce from sloshing around the plate.
For mains, we both ordered curry. The left picture is the Claypot Lamb and the right picture is the Red Curry Duck. I hadn't quite stopped raving in my head about the ribs. I was not expecting the duck to be as tender as them, but it melted off the bone, just as the ribs did! I was in food heaven. The only slight issue we had was that the lamb was a touch on the salty side for our taste, but overall it was a freaking amazing meal!
I never eat a whole dessert in a restaurant. I just can't handle it after having a scrumptious dinner. If I order one it normally means I haven't eaten enough of my dinner! We share. It's a great compromise! I was a little disappointed with the lack of markings on the dessert menu, but, again, Clinton double checked. He knew off the top of his head that I could have the Panna Cotta, but I was too stuffed for all that creaminess! We could have the "flourless" brownie... it was made of eggs, chocolate, sugar, and peanut stuffs! No glutens here! Yes, that is my hand in the picture... No, I could not wait for the picture to be taken before I dug in!
This is a definite "Date-night" restaurant. The one you chose when you want to spoil yourself or your other half. Not a regular Saturday night haunt. However, they do have a "Taste of Opium" menu for groups. At €25 a head you are not going to go wrong with the food. There are three really nomtastic gluten free options for mains. You have to check the starter menu to see which starts are gluten free but there are definitely options for you!
In summary, this place is beautiful in terms of venue and food. It's had an amazing transformation since "The Village" days into a must-eat restaurant and cocktail bar. Their cocktails are lovely and full of flavour but one or two and I tap out. They're expensive but tasty! You don't just get the taste with these cocktails: you get service and flamboyance. Each cocktail is served in it's own style glass and is painstakingly made. One even comes in a take-away container!
I was tweeting while I was in the restaurant. The amount of people that were interested in what the food is like in here was astounding! I even had Brian Emmett, winner of the American Bake Off, favouriting some of the tweets! How freaking exciting is that?! Well, if he comes to Dublin he knows to check this out!