Hallelujah, brunch with a booking. It makes such a difference being able to arrive safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to twiddle your thumbs for an hour or frantically google another, probably equally ‘trendy’ that’s impossible to get into place. That said, Kopapa may deliver peace of mind but misses the mark when it comes to delivering the knockout brunch I was expecting.
I bounced down the pavement. Buoyed by the company, buoyed by the weekend and buoyed by the prospect of eating brunch somewhere lovely. I’d read about Kopapa, no newbie on the London brunch circuit. General consensus suggested that I was in for a treat. What’s more, the restaurant is an outpost for Monmouth coffee and Crosstown doughnuts so I could tick off a few must dos in one go.
The brunch menu offers a solid selection with nods to the fusion style of co-owner, Peter Gordon, in the likes of dishes like their Turkish eggs or yuzu hollandaise. The eye-catching signature dishes sit neatly alongside others which cater to anyone after more standard brunch.
I couldn’t have forgiven myself if all I ordered were porridge. I am a porridge addict but with other things to try, I was torn. In the end, the toss up between savory and sweet was won by the Spiced banana French toast, grilled bacon, orange blossom labne, tamarind raisin relish and orange vanilla syrup. Quite a mouthful to say the least. I’m slightly ashamed to say, I ordered a portion of the porridge for good measure.
On arrival, one thing was clear. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, considerably so. That’s not to say I didn’t come close to polishing both momentous portions off, I ploughed stoically on… but one or other would have been more than a normal person’s portion. In contrast, what was dished up to my mum looked extremely uninspiring – two dry, and decidedly puny, poached eggs atop skinny bits of charred toast.
So, to my gluttonous munchings… the porridge was average. The small dollop of compote didn’t really deliver much flavour. It was as though it had been made from the oversized and watery blueberries I try to avoid when I snack on a pack. This being pretty much the only adornment, the resulting bowl was a little lacklustre.
As for the main event, the French toast, I’m not convinced I know how I feel about it even now. No doubt, it was different. The textures were wonderful; light and fluffy with enough crispy places to keep it interesting and creamy labne to round out each mouthful. And yet, I couldn’t decide whether I even liked it. I kept eating, because that’s what I’m good at, but with each bite, I came no closer to determining whether I loved the subtle floral flavours and the sweet sour tamarind. I’m not sure puzzling food is what I’m after… at least not at 9am in the morning.
To augment her mini brunch, my mum was tempted by a Crosstown doughnut. Again I told her this gourmet doughnut chain is storming across town and assured her it would be good. I wish I could say I was proved right, I really do. I feel I’m being a little negative but the reality was that my first encounter with Crosstown was a stale cardboard-y doughnut smeared with cloyingly sweet and overly crystalline, Italian meringue with more sickly, sticky rhubarb compote in the centre. I wanted to love it. I endorsed both restaurant and doughnut company with gusto, but no, not the best.
How to conclude? Book your table at Kopapa and everyone would find something they would like to eat and leave feeling fairly satisfied. Fewer would come away blown away. On balance, a safe but unspectacular choice. Maybe I need to give it a second chance. If only to decide once and for all about that French toast…