grilled chermoula marinated tiger prawns with watermelon pickle

A couple of months ago, an little restaurant called Kopapa opened in Covent Garden smack bang on the Seven Dials. Since its opening, it’s received some good reviews, but there’s also been some not so enthusiastic feedback, but regardless, it’s hard to classify Kopapa and put it in a box. Not the least because the descriptions of their dishes are a complete mind fuck.

The sister restaurant of tremendously popular Providores, Kopapa serves some old favourites (such as the Turkish eggs on their brunch menu) but also offers a variety of fusion (Asian, European, Middle Eastern – you name it they got it) dishes which perch precariously between creative and downright confusing. I’ve now been twice (brunch and dinner) and I have to say I’ve enjoyed both experiences, but I can totally see why they could also go so wrong.

So I guess all I can do is show you some pics of the food that I enjoyed and it’s up to you to go check them out and decide for yourself!

sesame infused tuna tartare with soy wasabi tapioca, crispy lotus root & shiso

chargrilled aubergine with tamarind caramel, coriander, pickled ginger and za’atar

coconut sticky pork ribs – seriously addictively delicious!

roast Norwegian cod with chargrilled leeks, salsify,
black-bean citrus salad & sherry vinegar caramel

seared scallops with chickpea panisse, apple shallot puree
& soy ginger beurre blan

duck leg confit with Malaysian twice cooked sweet potato dumplings,
sour cherry jus & bok choy

crispy skinned Middle White pork belly on smoked potato mash &
buttered broccolini with miso & tarragon dressing

deep fried squid on puy lentil, chipotle chilli & aubergine salad
with caramelised peanuts & rocket

black sesame brulée with a lemongrass ginger beignet
& black sesame molasses

warm black rice and pandan coconut pudding with vanilla poached figs

buttermilk & yoghurt panna cotta with hibiscus jelly & vanilla shortbread

And a couple of brunch dishes:

chorizo hash with a fried egg, rocket, salsa verde & crispy shallots

hot-smoked salmon on toasted sourdough with spinach,
2 poached eggs & yuzu hollandaise

As for the that tweet from Douglas Blyde, I agree that the layout is too tight – not just claustrophobic but be prepared to be bumped once or twice by a passing waitperson. As for the sour food? Kopapa seemed to use quite a bit of tamarind, shiso and yuzu in their dishes. I love tamarind and the sour edge these flavours all bring, so that was all good to me!

ps. the trick to reading the menu is just to read what the main ingredient is. Ignore the rest of the bullshit, the dishes all taste good 😉

pps. sorry about the crappy pics. Bad lighting. Bad photographer. Whatever.

Kopapa Cafe and Restaurant
32-34 Monmouth Street
Covent Garden, WC2H 9HA
0207 240 6076

Kopapa on Urbanspoon

16 Thoughts on “Kopapa Covent Garden: if fusion and a mind f**k is what you’re after…

  1. I was looking at all the food licking my lips and rubbing my tummy and then I saw the claustrophobia mention. I am stupidly claustrophobic.

    Gosh darn it! I LOVE yuzu!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Kopapa Covent Garden: if fusion and a mind f**k is what you’re after… « thecattylife… for all things cattylicious… --

  3. Thanks for the link Catty. I really like the brunch menu, and the coffee’s good, but found the food to be more hit and miss at dinner time and nothing really blew me away. I think it will get better, and I’m a big fan of The Providores, so I live in hope.

  4. That is definitely interesting, to say the least! 🙂

  5. I think Peter Gordon’s restos, Providores and Kopapa, are like Marmite – you either love them or hate them. I’ve not been to Kopapa but didn’t like Providores. And don’t get me started on the lengthy list of ingredients provided for each dish! Your tip on just concentrating on the main ingredient is a good one!

  6. Do you feel like they are trying to do too much, like they forgot that sometimes it is nice to have a simple dish with a few key ingredients executed really well? Everything just looks so complicated, like my taste buds would be confused, not having a party.

  7. WorshipBlues: Well it’s not claustrophobic like an elevator or anything, just that they fit so many tables into that place you get bumped all the time! Check them out anyway if you like the food!

    Greedy Diva: I quite liked all of the dishes that we had, and the black sticky rice dessert was awesome. As were the ribs! I’m going back for more brunch for sure too 🙂

    Maria: Definitely! That’s one way to describe it!

    Mr Noodles: The ingredient list for EVERY SINGLE DISH is insanely long!!!

    Koreen: Yeah some of it gets a bit confusing, like you have Asian tastes mixed with Western… and some other taste too! I really didn’t mind the tastes though 🙂

  8. Linda at Pink Elephants coffee,LLC on January 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm said:

    You said,”Sorry about the crappy pictures.” They are NOT ‘crappy’.
    I do wish to have the panna cotta recipe. Oh, I can figure it out for myself.
    Black sesame molasses sounds interesting. And here, again, I see use of pickled
    watermelon. Is it yummy?
    It used to be that if an ingredient list was too long or expensive, I’d move on. If the
    method has 100 steps, I don’t have the time. Now it’s a learning experience and the challenge is fun. Stupid mistakes aren’t fun. Senior moments in the kitchen are
    a riot. And when the ingredients are expensive, ya can’t afford to fuck up. That’s
    my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

  9. absolutely delicious looking food.. love the deep fried squid and also the pork belly!

  10. Christine on January 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm said:

    I think my fav was the tuna tartare 🙂

  11. Thanks for the nod. I loved Providores. This however was such a low rent imitation…

  12. There’s definitely an element of WTF! in those there ingredients, and perhaps a sprinkling of OMG and maybe, just maybe, some Huh? in there too.

    I’m in two minds about trying out Kopapa, mainly because I’m in two minds about ‘fusion’ food in general (and this food, with its long long list of ingredients is quite definitely ‘fusion’). I worry that stuff goes in there because it looks good on the menu rather than for a reason. Which is why there’s so often a surfeit of WTF and not enough w00t!.

    Enough of the acronyms, I’m in my thirties and really should stop trying to look so cool all the time, it’s a bit tragic. Aaaaannny way. It does sound like Peter Gordon may have taken his eye off the ball – well cooking – here. After all he can’t be in two kitchens at once. Saying that, yuzu hollandaise aside, the brunch looks pretty darn good.

  13. Linda: The watermelon pickle was actually really sweet – I thought it’d be sour but it was more like a jam. Very nice 🙂

    Melissa: Oh yeah the pork belly was CRISPYYYY. Soooo good 😀

    Christine: I think I liked the pork belly, ribs and prawns best. Ok and the tartare was good too 😉

    Douglas: I genuinely think Kopapa is good. I liked all the dishes I’ve had, but hey, to each his own! Providores is amazing, I just wish I didn’t have to queue for brunch 🙁

    The Grubworm: hahaha your comments ALWAYS crack me up 😀 I get what you’re saying about “fusion” but I guess sometimes it works. I’d give it a shot if I were you, and if you don’t like it, you don’t ever have to go back.

  14. Oh wowowowowowow! So much food. Looks amazing and varied. That warm black rice and pandan coconut pudding with vanilla poached figs sounds like it would be a perfect accompaniment to my hot tea right here 🙂

  15. @catty – you are right, i should give it a go. It’s only really self-labelled (or self conscious) ‘fusion’ that I am wary of. Great cooking does, of course, use influences from all over the place, and rightly so. the only thing I am really wary of is the combining of different cuisines for the sake of it…

  16. first time here and I just wanted to stop by to say Hello!!

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