Generally, the only time I go around Covent Garden area is when I have tickets to the ballet. Otherwise, it’s too busy with tourists and full of mediocre and overpriced restaurants. Therefore, I admit I was a little dubious of Kopapa. It’s technically in Seven Dials, which is the area north of Long Acre with the cobblestone streets, cute independent stores and restaurants (home of Neal’s Yard Cheese Shop, for example), and the tiny deathtrap of a roundabout where taxis speed by without care or regard for the fleeing pedestrians.
Kopapa is situated at the apex of the SE spoke Seven Dials spokes. It has a pretty slick, but equally comfortable interior. Despite it being Tuesday, the place was hopping and we very nearly didn’t get a table. I’m so glad we did though because I truly enjoyed the experience, not least of which the service, which from start to finish was perfect.
The menu is small plates-based, but with no particular affiliation to a cuisine. In one menu you go from pork belly to bruschetta to soft shell crab tempura. It could have been a disaster, but on the whole (barring one stand-out miss) it stood up to scrutiny. A credit to executive chef Peter Gordan and his team.
The aforementioned pork belly (£8.80) was savoury and sweet, with sweet potato dumplings and chilli pickled plums, though the crackling lacked the crunchiness that would have made it perfect.
Spring rolls of slow roasted duck leg, Sichuan pepper, feta & guindilla chillies with tamarind aioli (£8.10) were surprisingly meaty’, not just your average duck spring roll starter.
We also enjoyed the butternut squash risotto and burger, both massive portions and altogether enjoyable.
In fact the only true miss of the night was the calamari, which was unfortunately overcooked and way too salty – a real shame as the aioli it was served with was excellent.
Desserts were lovely, although there was a distinct lack of chocolate-based treats, if I’m honest. I went with the passionfruit brûlée and palm sugar tapioca substituting a mouth-watering honeycombe ice cream for the coconut sorbet it was meant to be served with (hate coconut, sorry).
I always feel weird gushing about a place, especially if I learned about it through a PR pitch (full disclosure below), but honestly Kopapa was great. With drinks and wine and a few extras, it wasn’t a super cheap meal (£120), but anyone on a budget could certainly scale it down. I’ll definitely be back.
Full disclosure: I was given a voucher in the amount of £100 to dine at Kopapa. Though I did not personally pay for the meal (apart from the £20 we went ‘over’), I was completely anonymous and the evening represented a typical ‘off the street’ experience.