You wait ages for one bus then two come along at once – the same can be said for decent places to eat in Covent Garden! With the arrival of heavyweights Jamie’s Italian and Hawksmoor, and newcomer Dishoom Upper St. Martins Lane has never been busier. So what will fresh-faced Kopapa bring that all the others don’t?
Rising from the ashes of gay haunt The Box, Kopapa by Peter Gordon, the brain that brought us GBK is a breath of fresh air in the smogged up West End. Why? Quite basically it’s an open-all-day café come restaurant were you can sip on a smooth cappuccino or sit down to something more satisfying like oysters or pork ribs.
Having recently re-located offices to Covent Garden I saw it as fate that Kopapa was opening right on my doorstep. I headed there at once to see what all of the fuss was about. Pushing back the heavy draped doorway I was greeted enthusiastically to a fairly empty restaurant – at this point I must stress that the restaurant itself had only been open for fifteen minutes and I was about to take away it’s virginity by being the first paying customer! After being seated the restaurant was very relaxing and the waiters very attentive and not too pushy. The menu was extensive and ticked almost every box from small tapas-sized plates to bigger main and desserts.
For starters I ordered two tapas-sized dishes (1) Parmesan & bone marrow sauce on toast with charain and (2) Coconut sticky pork ribs. The toast was delicious and the thick jam on top was full of meaty flavour. However, when ti came to the texture, it was not altogether pleasant. The sauce stuck to my teeth like glue and felt revolting leaving me gargling my glass of wine to remove the sticky sauce. Smart move to get people drinking!
The pork ribs were equally delicious. The sauce was similar to satay. Very tasty. My only reservation was that it was very messy, too. Even with a bowl of water to wash away the coconut coating I still thought the sauce was way too sloppy to eat with your hands and ribs far too difficult to eat with a knife and fork.
For my main I plumped for (3) Panko crumbed ox tongue & cheddar fritter with pickled red cabbage and romesco sauce. The tongue was delicate and soft with a cheddar core that gushed out as I broke it’s crispy shell. The flavour was rich and powerful. The romesco sauce sat proudly on top like a sweet marmalade that went perfectly.
For dessert I went for (4) Boiled-orange almond cake with passion fruit custard. The cake was soft, moist and oozed with citrusy zing. The passion fruit custard did a good job of bringing the sharpness of the orange back in line and added more dimension to the dessert leaving me salivating for more!
Finishing my mini-feast I was equally stuffed and satisfied. Even without the generous 50% off the total bill (including wine) for the soft opening Kopapa is well worth the money.
My head rating: 8.5 out of 10
My heart rating: 8.5 out of 10
32 – 34 Monmouth Street
Tel: 020 7240 6076