average, on the side of mediocre, fusion-ish in covent garden. I came to kopapa full of expectations for a good and proper brunch – by which I mean sweet, rich, skilful; and an improvement over my usual breakfast of porridge with peanut butter and raisins.
the menu sounded good enough, and clearly had someone skilful writing for it – I hope very much that they truly believed that’s what they were serving and failed, instead of them trying to make what was really rather unspecial sound romantically extraordinary.
the saving grace at this breakfast was the dish of poached eggs in yogurt and chilli oil. it is an unfamiliar pairing to me and I wasn’t sure how it would fare, but was unique and interesting enough. though I did think that it would have been better warmer than it was – that might possibly make the yogurt split.
my kopapa granola bowl was a bowl of toasted granola with bits of cut-up dried fruit and a spoonful of rich yogurt drizzled with honey – nothing special and I really would rather have been home with a bowl of jordan’s and cold milk. I know it’s just granola, but I’ve ordered it enough in restaurants to know that it can be much better than this.
the french toast that we ordered to share was terrible. it was two slices of dry fried bread with barely any syrup – in fact the thin drizzle around the plate, as little as it was, actually helped (really tells you how much syrup we got), with a spoonful of the same yogurt and some lightly fried bacon on top. in the menu it was described beautifully, and I wish I had taken note of the description now because you can then understand what a let-down this was. you order french toast for decadence and richness, not so that you wished instead that you had at least some toast which is meant to be dry.
at the table across from us, the diners there had a complain about the french toast and seemed to receive some jam for their efforts. I couldn’t be bothered, and I won’t be back here again. not for food anyway, though it is a quiet enough place (at a weekday brunch at least) to have a coffee and a chat with someone.
british-y confectionaries by goodge street. this place is another one of those I class as british organic – and you must notice the similarity in styles that this bakery shares with places like daylesford organic. they certainly make for attractive visuals, if nothing else.
there were cinnamon rolls and tall frosted cupcakes, but I thought that the most appealing things looked to be their cakes – and there are many of them, in intriguing flavours. alas many of them come as whole cakes, and so I didn’t have the chance to try them.
what I did try were their jaffa cakes, which at £2.20 probably costs a lot more than a box from the supermarket. it was a posh, high-quality version of the originals, with smooth bittersweet chocolate covering a not-too-sweet marmalade over crumbly but not too crumbly cake. very nice.
they have branches in a few places, but if you’re looking for the one we visited, it’s inside the Heals department store, a very nice place with loads of pretty houseware.
relatively expensive decent dimsum in soho. this is my second time at yauatcha in my 3 years here, and the food was as good as ever, though service was a let down. (our waiter was offensive, aggressive and completely unpleasant but the food was alright and so I didn’t raise the point, but it definitely was not a michelin-deserving experience.
the dimsum falls under the ‘fusion-ish’ umbrella – but is executed very well. the food is tasty and sufficiently tasty though not completely authentic, and I think this is possibly what not-completely-unknowing westerners would assume dimsum is. I did enjoy myself though.
out of what we ordered, the jasmine pork ribs are the best – reminiscent of barbecued pork ribs with its sticky glaze and tender meat, they were meaty and very good. the prawn-beancurd cheung fun was also very good, and I remembered it from my first visit here. the coconut charlotte was AMAZING. amazing with the accompanying mango sorbet, and it was light and refreshing – but rich enough so my sweet tooth was satisfied.
what wasn’t good were the rice-paper-prawn-mango roll, which was a slightly greasy oil-tasting crispy outer covering a gooey mayo-ey filling. I wouldn’t order this again.
go upstairs to admire the cakes and macaroons before you leave – I’ve been told the macaroons are good. come here for a lunch with friends, where it’s a lot more casual and less business-ish stifling than hakkasan.
leftover egg whites usually mean a skinny omelette, but I was craving something completely opposite that embodiment of health. and so I settled on these cookies that had only five ingredients.
basically a variant on a chocolate meringue, these are made of powdered sugar, cocoa and egg whites with a dash of vanilla and salt. very easy to mix and do up, most of the complexity lies in gauging how long they need to spend in the oven. if there’s anything I don’t like about this recipe, it’s the fact that even Heidi says that you will find out after a batch or two how much time you need for them – I rather prefer the standard, almost scientific, outlook baking holds.
but onward and forward!
- sift 335g powdered sugar with 45g regular cocoa and 1/3 table salt. stir in 3 egg whites with 2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract and mix until glossy and bubbly.
- spoon onto your parchment-lined baking sheets, very far apart from each other. 5 cookies each sheet worked for me, and I used 50g of batter per cookie. bake at 160C for 17-20 minutes, until the tops are cracked and glossy.
I have a few notes: I didn’t add walnuts because I didn’t have them, and from what I have eaten, they would add some texture and bitterness to the meringue. Also, I baked them for her recommendation of 15 minutes, and they were underbaked and an abomination to remove from the parchment so I returned them straight on a rack into the oven for another 5 minutes.
try these though! beyond that chocolatey taste, they bring the satisfaction of baking – if you too, like me, find an immense pleasure from the simplicity of mixing up batter – with only 5 ingredients you usually have on hand.
update: it’s been 2 days now and I’ve been nibbling on the cookies as I head to the kitchen, and my favourite part is munching on the center of the cookie where it is truly fudgy. the sides are a bit thin and sticky – not too bad but the middle’s defo the best.
USE THE BEST VANILLA you have for this cookie – in a monotonous landscape of cocoa, the vanilla stands out.
a well-executed and very rich dinner at la trompette. I had read lots of good reviews about the food here, with the only complain being that the food was a little too rich; who would have thought that would be a problem? but after having dinner here, I know what they mean but I still had a fabulously good time.
the staff here are friendly and gracious; attentive but not obtrusive. they let me switch to a table in the corner when I asked, and kept our glasses filled all night. they also offered us a selection of bread while we were perusing the menu and I have to ask: why on earth don’t other restaurants do this? it’s nice to know that I can munch on something right when I get into the restaurant (always said I was greedy).
I had initially picked an appetizer of seared tuna, but changed my mind to the day’s special of smoked eel with beetroot, applle and wasabi mayonnaise. I had seen reviews from people who had ordered something similar but they never said how it tasted so I had been apprehensive – horrible thoughts of jellied eels intruded. but it tastes amazing! very mild tasting, with the texture of beautifully moist smoked fish. it wasn’t fishy at all! my partner had the partridge with foie gras, very good but very rich too.
for mains, I had the venison: loin cooked medium rare as well as hache of venison, which essentially is meat chopped up with spices and gathered into a sort of meat-ball. very tasty, especially with the truffled parsnip puree. on the other side of table was slow-roasted pork belly; he was very happy with the crackling and the tender falling-apartness of the dish.
the dessert of creme brulee and warm ginger cake were both very good; the brulee was a little too sweet – though I think that could have been the affect of the intense vanilla-y flavour.
a good meal, very well-executed but I think it was a little too rich. we were sated but also very full – it’s been three hours now and I still feel it a little – but I think it was robably our choice of dishes as well. come here if you’re in the area, or even if you aren’t, just come by for the well-executed but not poshy food and ambience.