Last time we visited Kopapa for brunch was a bank holiday, and the limited menu meant I couldn’t truly appreciate what it has to offer. But Lawson said it was good, so I’m giving it the benefit of doubt.
Kopapa is perfect for our girls’ dinner; chillax ambience with music that doesn’t drown our conversation nor suppress our giggles, plus a diverse menu that allows sharing. We were more drawn to the longer list of small plates, lots of interesting ingredients that we hadn’t heard of. To set the right mood for the evening, we started with a couple of cocktails: Berry Bomb, Spring Breeze and a glass of Gayda.
Miso sweetcorn with spicy green beans & crispy shallots
This was quite fiddly to eat, but we were allowed to use our fingers with the bowl of warm finger water. The sweetcorn was not overly sweet, as the sugars were reined by the thin glaze of miso umami, just juicy and crunchy niblets. The accompaniments were a little sloppy though; green beans were limp and sweated, mixed with some equally lifeless shallots. Had the spice been more detectable, it would have given an extra dimension to the flavours. Not bad overall.
Spring rolls of slow roasted pork, tamarind aioli
These rolls were absolutely packed-out, choke-full, jam-packed with torn pork. In fact the bits were so crammed to compactness, it looked like one slab of meat wrapped in a thin crispy sheet. We had to re-disintegrate the pork to loosen the roll up. Though the meat was tender and moist, the spring roll was still lacking in juices, making it a bit harsh in texture; there are only so many bites one can drown in aioli.
Pomegranate glazed lamb breast with Turkish yoghurt
This was my favourite of the evening. The lamb was beautifully grilled to soft-on-tongue perfection, each piece had a small streak of fat attached to boost the lamb tang. The light pomegranate glaze gave a subtle citrusy lift to the creamy yoghurt and added a twist to the tender meat. It was a mini kebab; lighter on spice and grease without compromising the satisfying flavours.
Spice-battered prawns with tamarind & pineapple chutney
Can’t say I was overly impressed by the presentation, the batter was either falling off the prawns or formed a massive bubble around it. I was wrong. Turns out the batter was surprisingly thin, just giving an extra crispiness to the already very crunchy prawns. The pineapple chutney was adequately sweet to add an exotic touch. I only wish there was more of it. The tapioca balls were great with the chutney, especially when mixed with cubes of pineapple, the contrasting textures were interesting.
Pan-fried cauliflower polenta, black figs, girolles & parmesan shavings
Hmm... this was the only large plate we went for, but hmm... I don’t remember the details. The flavours came together very well with the fruity sweetness from the figs. However the blocks of fried polenta were dehydrated, and the breadcrumb coat didn’t help. I’m not sure.
Peanut butter parfait with Original Beans 75% Piura Cirollo chocolate delice, sea salt caramel & chocolate crumble
Anything with peanut butter, I’m in. Parfait was smooth, but also airy to take out the usual denseness. The essence wasn’t overwhelming, more like a subtle fragrance that supported the rich, indulgent dark chocolate delice. Personally I would prefer stronger peanut butter flavours, but this was a great finish to the meal.
Sorbet: Strawberry & lemongrass, Peach & cinnamon
This one didn’t go down so well, the two flavours were oddly similar, and both tasted like bubble gum. I’m sure at some point one person mentioned it was akin to fruity condom flavours... Ahem. No, the massive slab of gingerbread didn’t win our hearts either, it was more like a rock rubbed with raw ginger.
Blueberry baked ricotta, peach slices
My previous brunch here was less exciting, the steak sandwich was mediocre, under-seasoned and under-dressed; the French toast had nothing on my homemade version; the chorizo hash was the best of the lot.
This meal, however, was great, I liked having a bit of internationality on the table. It was clear where each dish originated, all with a little twist to make them unique. Nothing too adventurous to render the recipe out of sorts, and unlike some fusion restaurants, Kopapa didn’t force the marriage of any cuisine in particular. It was just a good menu; the food was as easy-going and casual as the ambience. In terms of sharing, the small plates were not that much smaller than the large ones, what we had was substantial and left just enough space in our stomachs for dessert.
32-34 Monmouth Street