copita, london

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good modern spanish in soho.

let me start by saying, I have made it to copita! one of the group of trendy no-reservation restaurants in london popping up on food blogs and ‘what-to-do-in-london’ mailing lists. I really don’t rather appreciate no-reservation systems; if I have the right to plan for a meal out and call ahead of time, then everyone has that same right! it’s not inherently fairer to have it first-come-first-serve; I’ll heartily weild a sword against anyone who tries to argue that point.

but in any case, I used the magic golden ticket of a late weekday lunch to get to copita, and I had a good time. prices are high for such small plates, and they add up very quickly – as an asian I feel obliged to let you know that bread is not free-flow and that the 1quid baskets are your best bets in filling up during the meal. it is lucky then that the dishes are so intensely savoury that it’s almost impossible to eat them entirely without the monotonous sponge qualities of the bread.

my photos give the dishes the illusion of being regular-sized, but let me tell you that most of them were smaller than the length of my hands (and I don’t have big hands). they were prettily enough presented though, and came at a regular rhythm that kept the conversation going and our stomachs sated.

between the two of us, we started with spanish jamon, two bread baskets, pea-truffle oil-cheese croquets, a pork kebab (really a wrap), duck egg yolk with mushrooms, monkfish with kale, and finished with churros.

the ham was marvellous. there’s something about such intensely dehydrated pork meat and fat that melts in your mouth and reminds you of the good food they must have imbibed before such glorious sacrifice. it was a generous platter, even when so small, and a tiny piece goes a long way in bringing pleasure.

the pea croquets opened up a brilliant spring green interspersed with cheese strings, and that on its own made it irresistible. very, very tasty. the pork kebab that followed was a bit misplaced, in that the sour cream and pepper in there tasted very mexican-american, and it was a little bit heavy. the only dish I was glad was small.

the duck egg yolk was cooked to perfection as you can probably tell, and under it were these anorexically-thin strips of large mushrooms that were woody and forest-y and amazingly mushroomy. this dish is a must-order. the monkfish didn’t fare so well; the liquid that came doused with tasted like a bizarre mix of olive oil and some piquant-tasting pickle juice – not the best.

the churros that followed were freshly-fried and really nice, especially since I’m never one for fried bread – the smell of oil that bread-ish goods retain after frying being extremely unappetising – but this was good. the only strange thing was the chocolate dip it came in was closer to a runny liquid than we expected, and it had clearly been made with cocoa as you could see the grains within.

all in all though, it was a very good lunch. it’s not great for when you’re hungry, but it’s a good conversation-sustainer, and it was lucky the fresh and chewy bread was on hand to tide us through the meal.

and anyway, wardour street with princi and l’eto are just round the corner if you need stomach-fillers!

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