Kopapa…what’s that?

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

All rights reserved

Food photos are of real food with NO photoshop

The irreverent and intrepid makes a beeline for London’s West End to catch a mouse…

MICE are only cute in the hit cartoon movie ‘RATatouille’…and perhaps in the oldest running West End play in London…and in the world. The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, the “Queen of Crime” is a hot favourite of mine and I have seen this Murder mystery ‘whodunit’ before, several times. On a recent gastronomic safari in Europe, I went to enjoy it yet again…but before that I went to feast at my good pal’s restaurant very near the theatre where The Mousetrap is showing. Chef/Owner Peter Gordon is a very cheerful fellow from New Zealand. With his ‘Navy SEAL beard’, Peter has an uncanny resemblance to the actor that played the adventurer in the TV series, “Jason King”.


Chef Peter Gordon from New Zealand


New Zealand’s take on Pacific Rim cuisine is what is served in Kopapa. It means in the Maori language: “Meeting Place”. It is true to its name…for I saw loud, culturally challenged blond female American tourists with “big hair” and “big eyes”, if you get my drift…People from all walks of life including native Londoners, and ‘out of towners’ from Scotland and the north, come to eat &  see the glitz and glamour of the City! The atmosphere is raucous and noisy and exuberant, but what the hell? At the end of the day, the proof of the pudding is in the eating…

Splendid “small plates”

The way to enjoy the cuisine here, respectfully, is to select several ‘small plates’, a la Tapas in Spain…and share family-style. So much more fun and convivial! I recommend Tempura spicy Dhal Inari pocket, Caramelised Coconut & Green Paw-Paw Pickle. This is inspired by Singapore-Indian cuisine with a Dhal (lentil) curry. and the Green Papaya Pickle is from Thai cuisine. Scrumptious Sesame-glazed Wasabi-spiked Wagyu Beef plus Rice Noodles, Ginger Pickles & Enoki (mushrooms) is Japanese inspired and appeals to the Carnivore in all of us (myself included 🙂 NZ is justly famed for seafood so…King scallop with Sweet Chilli Sauce a la Thai Mae Praenom massaged with slinky Crème-fraîche instead of Mayonnaise…is simply delightful! Have this with 2010 Seresin Estate, a Gewürztraminer, far from its native origins grown in Marlborough, NZ. Typical New World New Zealand ‘terroir’ and wine making techniques show off Litchees, Freshly-cut Ginger and perfumed Rose petals…The ginger nuances foil the marine flavours of the scallops…

Depriving your good self of a sweet treat is to deny yourself one of life’s greatest pleasures…Therefore, go mad for:

Sorbets…have two, three or more scoops! I like tropical Pineapple & Coconut, Cherry & Lemongrass Thai and Nyona influence here), pristine Pear & Star Anise with a crispy GInger Snap is a personal favorite…

x3 Scoops of Pineapple & coconut, cherry & lemongrass, pear & star anise with a ginger snap (GBP7.90). A plate of home-made biscuits & chocolates (GBP6.50) WHY do they always say “home-made” when it is made by the pastry Chef in the restaurant kitchen??? Only MUM makes home-made at HOME! Nevertheless, they are pretty nice. BOuncy Blackberries, Lemon Curd, Basil Sorbet, Toasted Honeyed Oats and/or Chocolate & Sea Salted Caramel Sundae, Tamarind (aka Assam) Ice Cream & Popcorn!  Roast Quince, Kalamansi Lime Sorbet and sweet Meringue makes me happy…My companion, F, loved Peanut Butter Parfait with Original Beans of 75% Piura Criollo Chocolat Delice, and more Salted Caramel Sauce & Chocolate Crumble…love that crunch! Or FORGO sweets and smile and say: CHEESE!  Ragstone & Stichelton Blue is strong…to grow hairs on your chest, or perhaps a milder Montgomery Cheddar plus Hazelnut & Fig Brioche, Oatcakes and Membrillo. Marmalade and fresh-cut Seville Oranges plus hints of Thai Mango make 2008 Craggy Range, ‘Fletcher Family’, Noble Riesling good with the cheeses.

The Travelling GourmetTM recommends Kopapa for an early perfectly spiffing Pre-Theatre Dinner when you are in London’s West End. Not so appropriate for a romantic rendezvous with a Ukrainian blond…ENJOY life! It’s short…live well…live happily!

Kopapa Café and Restaurant,

32-34 Monmouth Street,

Seven Dials, Covent Garden,

London, WC2H 9HA


Tel: 02072406076

Opening Times:

Kopapas is open for breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Monday – Friday
Breakfast 8:30am – 11:30am
Lunch midday – 5.00pm
Dinner 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Brunch 9:30am – 4:00pm
Dinner 4:30pm – 11:00pm
Brunch 9:30am – 4:00pm
Dinner 4:30pm – 9:45pm

About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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