Individual Restaurants, the company behind some of Cheshire’s most popular restaurants, promises to bring theatre on a grand scale to the restaurant scene in Chester, with the opening of Opera Grill this week. Described as ‘An Internationally inspired grill using outstanding ingredients’ Opera Grill is a 400 seater restaurant. Boasting a ground floor restaurant & bar, a first floor restaurant & bar with a music lounge complete with bar and stage, along with a south facing all year round roof terrace which is sure to be a hit with Chester sun seekers.
The restaurant will open for lunch until late, 7 days a week and is situated on Pepper Street opposite its sister restaurant, Piccolino.
Following a painstaking restoration of this listed building to expose its former glory, a further £3m has been invested to create Opera Grill. The building dates back to 1836 when it first opened as a Methodist Chapel. It then closed shortly after World War One when the building itself was then hidden behind a brand new building, a car garage called “Anchor motor co”. This garage went on to manufacture fuselage and spitfire wings in World War Two. The building has clearly played an important role over the course of its lifetime with more being discovered about its history all the time. It was only right we made the building something special again for Chester.
The Grade II listed façade is one of grandeur, with distinct neoclassical Greek architecture including pillars, pediment and a portico, which makes it stand out from the crowd. By using pictures from the buildings archive, the team at Opera Grill have managed to recreate its original look right down to its steel railings. Subtle antique brass signage and 3 giant hanging lanterns between the portico’s columns, brings the building to life in the evenings.
Designed by Bernard Carroll the interior of the restaurant mixes an industrial look with a touch of opulence. Full respect has been taken into account internally with its industrial feel
of exposed brick and plaster, polished concrete floors, Crittal Windows and original features. All of this is complimented by the use of timeless classic materials including hot rolled steel, Cerused Oak, Antique brass and Arabestato marble. The striking burnt orange leather furniture was inspired by french design house, Hermes.
As you enter the restaurant a full height wine boutique greets you, showcasing bottles from the restaurants extensive list of wines and Champagne created by in house sommelier, Dario Barbato and his team.
The ground floor which has been named the ‘Grill Floor’ features a central island cocktail bar accompanied by dining for guests on both sides.
The open kitchen boasts a 3 meter handmade charcoal & wood burning grill, which sits between two feature wood burning ovens. Either side of this are two, floor to ceiling fridges, lined with pink Himalayan salt bricks where cuts of meat are dry aged, in house.
Just about everything on the menu is made in front of guests. With 25 metres of display fridges highlighting the vast range of fresh produce on offer, including raw bar, cold counter and in house butchers, all adding to the theatre of the restaurant.
Two separate staircases, one at the front of the building and one at the rear, lead you to the first floor ‘Gallery Restaurant’ which looks down onto the ‘Grill Floor.’
The first floor features another cocktail bar which has been given the name ‘The Music Lounge’ and features a stage set for live acts including; International DJ’s, a house band on Wednesday evenings and Gospel choir every Sunday, kick starting the ‘What’s on’ at Opera Grill live entertainment programme.
As you walk out from the first floor to the rear of the building, you step out on to a south facing roof terrace complete with cocktail bar and retractable roof, for all year round dining.
The menu has been inspired by revered chefs and restaurants from around the world, creating a truly International grill. Raw bar, cold counters and salad bars compliment the extensive selection of charcoal grill & wood oven dishes.
The drinks selection is again Internationally inspired by famous bar tenders and bars from around the world, setting a new standard for cocktail drinkers in Chester. All cocktails are made using cold pressed fruits, vegetables & herb juices from the bars, in house juicery. Steven Walker, founder of Individual Restaurants says; “Its exciting to open restaurants in our heart land and our loyal guests are in for a treat. Opera Grill promises to deliver amazing food and drink mixed with great live entertainment.”