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14 North Parade, Basement, Bath BA2 4AJ. Tel:+44 1225 317900

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      19.10.2009 15:13
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      This week I spent a day helping the present Mr Tart to move out of his flat as he's moving to a new place in a couple of days. By the end of the day of clearing and cleaning (which followed a weekend of packing!) we were both exhausted. Mr Tart is staying with me until his new place is ready so I had been planning to cook that evening but I realised that I didn't have any food in. We thought about going out for a Martin (moneysavingexpert) 2 for 1 deal but Mr Tart said he wanted something a bit more special to thank me for lugging all his stuff! Never one to turn down a free meal I suggested Opa Meze as I'd been there once for a work do and thought it was really nice.

      LOCATION:
      Opa Meze is located at 14 North Parade, Bath. It's pretty much in the centre of the city. Those of you who know Bath will know that it's not very big so the centre is easily walked around. The nearest parking is at the Bath Sports Centre (which is council run so you don't have to use the centre to use the car park) or the Saw Close car park. They both cost £1.40 for one hour, £2.80 for two, £4 for three and £5 for four. They are both free after 8pm which is the time we went so we were happy to get the free parking. Both car parks are less than five minutes walk away from the restaurant. Bath train station is a also a five minute walk away.

      EXPERIENCE:
      I phoned to book a table at the restaurant because I knew it was popular and wanted to make sure (although I need not have bothered as we were the only ones in there when we arrived). We went on a Tuesday night so I would recommend booking if you go on a weekend.

      Opa is an underground restaurant and bar. It is down some quite steep steps and as far as I'm aware there is no lift (and due to Bath being a UNESCO World Heritage Site I'm guessing there isn't much opportunity to put one in).

      We were seated at our table and as we were the only ones in there at the start they let us have the choice. Inside the restaurant is like an underground whitewashed cavern. There is exposed Bath stone in places and lots of wood making it look quite Greek. The place is made up of different areas, part being normal tables, then the bar with sofas and bar stools, and lastly the booths which can seat lots of people in a private area carved out of the stone. When I went to the restaurant before we were in one of these and they're great for a group night out (although quite 'cosy' so if you're the first in make sure you've gone to the toilet first as you have to get everyone else out to get out yourself!). The restaurant is right on the river and has an outside space. It is a lovely place to go in the summer to have a cocktail and look out over the river.

      Once seated we were brought food menus and the drinks menu. The service was quick and efficient all night. The waitress came to take our drinks order, the usual tap water for me and a glass of house red for Mr Tart. Again these came quickly and then she took our food order. Once we'd put that in we were served some marinated olives and French bread. There were dipping oils (olive, balsamic and chilli) on the table for the breads. These were included in the price, and while I'm sure that that increases the general prices I think it's a really nice touch and we certainly appreciated it as we were starving from all the lugging of boxes!

      For the starter I ordered the tiropitakia which a triangles of cheese pies. They came looking very appetizing, three triangles of filo pastry. I bit in looking forward to some cheese flavours....and nothing. They seemed to have made a mistake as mine were filled with something green (I'm assuming it was spinach as they do offer a spinach version on the menu). I wasn't worried enough to send them back as it would have disrupted the meal and we wanted to get on. They tasted fine but there was far too much pastry and not enough filling so they were quite bland. However, I think this was a simple mistake and the cheese ones would probably have been much nicer. Mr Tart had the papoutsakia, which was aubergines stuffed with minced meat and topped with béchamel sauce. When it came it was just like a small mousaka. Mr Tart was really enjoying it and said it was really yummy, so of course I thought it only fair that I have a bit! I don't normally like aubergine but this was so delicious. The aubergine wasn't rubbery which I find it often can be. There was just enough sauce to make it really tasty and it was seasoned really well. They also brought us warm pitta bread with our starters but we could hardly eat any as there so much!

      For my main course I ordered the sofrito, which was beef with white wine and garlic sauce with rice and chips. I was really impressed by this. The beef was really tender and just fell apart. The sauce was delicious, I wouldn't have necessarily have thought of putting white wine with beef but it really worked. The rice was well cooked and had some herbs and peas in it. The chips were really thin and crispy. Again, I wouldn't have thought that chips on a Greek dish would work that well but they went really well with the sauce and beef. Mr Tart had the kleftiko, which is slow cooked lamb served with potatoes and herbs. He was again very impressed. The lamb literally fell off the bone but at the same time it was still pink. I managed to get Mr Tart to offer me some of the lamb to taste and I can confirm it was very good and full of flavour.

      We were extremely full after this so we didn't get dessert. The portions are very generous in the restaurant so make sure you go in hungry! There was a good variety on the menu and I would quite happily chosen lots of the other dishes. Other starters included calamari, chicken croquettes, mussels with feta, tomatoes, wine and garlic, stuffed vine leaves and spicy Greek sausage. The other mains included mousaka, seafood spaghetti and the special of chicken, pork, lamb, peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic. There are also some grills like steak or chicken and they have a selection of fresh fish every day. The selection of desserts includes baklava (filo pastry filled with nuts and honey), gallaktobouriko which is a vanilla milk pie with syrup, as well as ice creams and lemon sorbet. The restaurant also offers some set menus (meat, veggie and fish) of various meze dishes. These look really good as well and would be great if you wanted to try lots of different things.

      The prices in the restaurant weren't too bad, remembering that we were in Bath and that all the food was really good. The starters ranged from £3.90 to £6.35 but most were between £4 and £5. The mains range from £10.35 to £16.35 with the most expensive grill going up to £18.35. The desserts are £4.50. The restaurant/bar also has a great selection of cocktails which are £5 each which I don't think is too bad for cocktails. Unfortunately I was driving otherwise I would definitely have sampled one of these! Our bill came to £44 which isn't cheap considering we only had one glass of wine for Mr Tart and water for me, but we did both have starters and it was supposed to be a treat.

      CONCLUSION:
      I was really impressed with this meal. It's not somewhere I would go often for food as the price is quite high (considering myself and Mr Tart like our 2 for 1 bargains!) but it is perfect for a treat. Also I think that next time I would try the set menu which is only £28 for two people. The food was excellent quality and tasted really good so I don't mind paying a bit extra when it's that good. The service was excellent all night. My only niggle was that starter being wrong but it didn't matter that much in the end. If you're in Bath and looking for a place to have a cocktail or a really nice meal out I would highly recommend this place.

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