Christmas Eve 10am - 3pm

Christmas Day CLOSED
Boxing Day CLOSED
New Year’s Eve 10am - 3pm
New Year’s Day CLOSED
Good Friday - CLOSED
Anzac Day 12pm - 5pm

Opa Bar + Mezze: Sea of Flavour

Sea of Flavour

Taking in the flavours and cooking methods of Egypt, Turkey, Levant, Greece, Italy, Southern France and more, Mediterranean cuisine includes a diverse range of fare characterised by olive oil, plenty of fresh produce, red meat, fish, legumes and, of course, wine. Pairing these elements well is key to enjoying them at their best, according to sommelier Jonathan Colombo, from Opa Bar + Mezze in Brisbane.

“My tip is to try to bring harmony to the dining experience by pairing rich food with rich wine and fresh, light flavours with something more delicate,” he says.

With this in mind, he recommends complementing seafood with a crisp drop featuring aromatic herbs and citrus notes.

“White and sparkling wines tend to lend themselves best here,” he says. “I also love a light red with very light, light tannins.”

However, Colombo also encourages people to “have fun and to dare, be curious and experiment” with pairings.

“Try a floral, aromatic red wine with something full flavoured, maybe even spicy,” he says.

“A chilled red wine with chargrilled prawns, herbs and tomato is also a fun way to break the rules.”

And now is the perfect time to experiment with new flavours and pairings.

“With the lack of travel, people are becoming more curious about exotic wines,” Colombo says.

“Choosing a bottle is almost like exploring the world through their glass.”

It’s a sure sign of authentic Greek hospitality that you won’t leave this eatery hungry. At Opa Bar + Mezze, on Eagle Street, Brisbane, psomi (the Greek word for bread) is treated with the respect it deserves and has earned its own section on the menu. Rightfully so, when the list includes such enticing offerings as Village bread with white fish roe mousse, Split broad bean mousse or Hot pepper and feta.

The village theme continues with whitewashed interior walls and a shaded outdoor space, reminiscent of the sleepy tavernas of Greece. At Opa, though, tradition has been given an exciting, contemporary – but still very much Greek-inspired – twist, with mezze such as Saganaki cheese with lemon and ouzo, and share plates such as Chicken stuffed with ground beef and pork, rice, chestnuts, pine nuts, sultanas and herbs. All that’s left to do is to pick a new favourite from the wine list. Opa!

Bring it home

Jonathan shares these mouth-watering recipes



1 (about 120g) chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
100g butter
2/3 cup plain flour
1 ½ cups milk
2 tbs chopped fresh continental parsley
1/4 cup plain flour, extra
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 ¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs
Light olive oil, to deep-fry

Cook the chorizo in a non-stick frying pan over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in the flour for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in one-third of milk. Gradually stir in remaining milk until the mixture thickens. Stir over medium-high heat for a further 2 minutes or until very thick. Stir in chorizo and parsley. Season with pepper. Transfer to a shallow container. Set aside to cool slightly. Cover and place in fridge for 4 hours or overnight to set. Place extra flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Use floured hands to roll tablespoonfuls of chorizo mixture into 8cm-long croquettes. Roll each one in flour and shake off excess. Dip in egg, then in breadcrumbs to coat. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Add oil to a large saucepan to come 5cm up the side of the pan. Heat to 170°C over medium-high heat (when oil is ready, a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 60 seconds). Cook croquettes, in 3 batches, turning occasionally, for 1-2 minutes or until golden and heated through. Transfer to a tray lined with paper towel. Serve.

Match with Yalumba Barossa Shiraz



4 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/4 cup olive oil
30 medium green prawns, peeled, leaving tails intact, deveined
1 squid hood, cleaned, cut into rings
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup white wine
3 tomatoes, quartered, seeded, coarsely chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups arborio rice
12 small black mussels, scrubbed, debearded
Chopped fresh continental parsley, to serve

Combine stock and saffron in a saucepan and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a 38cm (top measurement) paella pan over medium-high heat. Cook prawns, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until they change colour. Transfer to a bowl. Heat 1 tbs of remaining oil in pan. Cook squid for 1-2 minutes or until just cooked through. Transfer to bowl. Heat remaining oil in the pan. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add wine and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until evaporated. Add tomato and paprika and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tomato starts to soften. Stir in the rice. Reserve ½ cup of the stock mixture. Add remaining stock to pan. Do not stir. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, without stirring, for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and firm to the bite. Push mussels into rice mixture. Top with prawns and squid. Ladle over reserved stock. Cook, without stirring, for a further 8-10 minutes or until mussels open, paella is slightly moist and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside for 5 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Top with parsley and serve.

Match with Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier

Other restaurants to transport you to the Mediterranean.

• Brisbane – Rico Bar + Dining, ricodining.com.au

• Adelaide – Georges on Waymouth, georgesonwaymouth.com.au

• Melbourne – Bellota Wine Bar, bellota.com.au