Formerly Elixir, the restaurant space at the Opus Hotel has undergone month of changes with the 100 Days, followed by the 100 Nights pop-up bistros. The most recent incarnation is Cento Notti, another pop-up but with new decor and a menu focused on hand-made Italian specialties.
Mirrors, pearls, painted busts, and candlelight give the space a warm, golden glow. The single-page menu is presented on a clipboard as you select from appetizers, mains, and sides. Our server highlighted a few features, including the burrata (made in-house) with roasted onion jam & rosemary oil, and recommended that we get some sides to share since the pasta portions aren’t overly generous.
We began with the wild boar & asiago meatballs in tomato fondue ($9). There were 3 of us and 4 meatballs arrived. Our forks fought over who got to devour the remainder. The tomato fondue was a fresh tomato sauce with cheese melted throughout – perfect for dipping. Executive Chef Paul Marshall also prepared an amuse bouche and a crisp salad with kale, grapefruit slices, and blue cheese.
Our three main courses were spaghetti bolognese with shaved blue cheese ($16) for John, the hand-rolled gnocchi with tomato pomodoro and fresh basil ($17) for me, and our dear friend Laura was presented with the prawn-of-all-jumbo-prawns atop her fettucini with lemon herb vegetables ($26).
The generous tomato topping on my gnocchi was light and fresh, giving a nice contrasts to the soft, tender, and cheesy pasta. John said that he enjoyed his spaghetti (he got it because it’s the signature dish) and that the hint of blue cheese was not overpowering, which can sometimes happen.
We ordered two sides to share (steamed asparagus and brocollini with chili) although I think we would have been good with just the brocollini as the pasta portions were just right.
Full from our mains, and just able to get the last few vegetables from fork to mouth, our eyes widened as dessert was delivered on a majestic platter. There’s always room for dessert.
There was a lemon tart with (what I’m going to call) drunken cherries, a chocolate panna cotta with roasted strawberries, and a frozen tiramisu that was slice of mocha heaven.
If you haven’t been by Cento Notti in its current form, it’s worth making a reservation — although it wasn’t very busy around 7:00pm on a Monday night (probably a different story on a Canucks game night in the bar area though). For an appetizer, two dinners, and a dessert, you can look to spend about $60 on a date night, which isn’t outrageous at all. The warm tones, attentive staff, and remixed house music make it a welcoming space for couples and friends out on the town.