Saturday, March 07, 2015

Bel Canto Opera Restaurant

When Lynette a friend of mrs maytrees suggested that we should accompany her husband and herself to dinner at an 'opera restaurant' my heart sank slightly upon my learning that the two of them went ahead and booked for the evening, as opera has not really been my favourite form of either classical music or theatre. Nonetheless they are excellent friends and company so I was happy to come along.

Perhaps my slight reticence arose from the fact that some 15 or 20 years ago when mum and dad (both of whom died in their 90s last year) were hale and hearty they organised a family birthday party at a Chancery Lane restuarant which I believe was called  'Spaghetti Opera'. The birthday party was great fun as one would expect though my recollection is of the 'opera' singing then, being  too loud and too long, so much so that one could not hear oneself speak let alone have conversations with the others. Additionally though Italian operas are second to none so I understand, the culinary delights of Italian spaghetti tend to pass me by (all the more so for English prepared spaghetti).

The night out yesterday at Bel Canto was hugely different. Possibly my walking  as  the sun set, from the day job office from Lincoln's Inn Fields (about an hours walk)  to meet with the others at  Bel Canto near Lancaster Gate, enabled me to work up an appetite  after the week's day job work was done, but in reality the C21 style of dining out with opera arias being sung intermittently by the young  opera singers, who also served at one's table yesterday, was far superior to  my recollection of the C20 equivalent.

The menu for example was rather more  fun and enjoyable than mere spaghetti. My choices for example were:

  • Opera salad 
    Mixed baby leaves, pine nuts, shaved parmesan, sun dried tomato, French dressing.
  followed by
  •   Rainbow Trout
  •    Steamed Fillet of rainbow Trout with freshly chopped tomato salsa.
   To finish with 
  • Exotic Fruit Salad
    Served with Coconut Sorbet.

A nice touch by the opera singers was to serve a  free glass of Prosecco at the start and glass of Italian
white wine towards the finish of the meal.

We added a bottle of Italian white wine to the above, which was ideal. Best of all of course was the opera singing with famous Italian arias and excerpts  from  operas really well sung (to my inexpert ear) with the male and female singers all being talented as well as fun to listen to.

There were reasonable time lapses between one operatic aria and the next which meant that not only could there be much conversation between the four of us but also that the topic of conversation frequently changed in tandem with the singing, There was accompanying the singers, a very young looking and most talented grand piano player who gave added sparkle to the singers and of course us diners.

A lovely evening out though the slight drama about the train journey home from London Waterloo was that we all remarked on how new and upmarket the train we boarded there was. The train was supposedly still a slow, stopping one and mrs maytrees and mrself decided to alight at Wimbledon  at about midnight though we could have alighted at the next stop Raynes Park with our two friends.

Lynette  later reported to mrs maytrees  however that for some  unannounced reason the train converted to a fast non stopping train shortly after Wimbledon - as a result they had to take a taxi back from the first stop - miles on  from Raynes Park.

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