32–34 Monmouth Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9HA
Peter Gordon, the much-lauded Kiwi chef behind Providores, one of London’s most popular foodie haunts, has brought his fabulous fusion food to Seven Dials, Covent Garden. Like its sister restaurant, Kopapa wanders the globe, pairing Pacific Rim cuisine with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern classics to create complex and surprising flavours. The dining room is simple and classy, with a tiled floor, dark wooden chairs and tables, and huge picture windows. Smart without being intimidating, it’s a friendly and flexible place, whether you want to grab a coffee and baobab soy blueberry smoothie to go (very Antipodean), linger over a convivial brunch, sample small plates at the marble-topped bar, or tuck into a three-course dinner. Gordon’s food has won innumerable accolades, and although some dishes are more successful than others, the regularly changing menu is always innovative and exciting. A daily selection might include deep-fried pimientos de padron; cauliflower and ginger soup with parsley cream; a plantain, sweet potato and feta tortilla; or Madras-marinated New Zealand lamb with couscous and samphire. The weekend brunch is a stunner – try the Turkish poached eggs with whipped yoghurt, hot chilli butter and sourdough toast. They don’t skimp when it comes to desserts, either – from banana tarte tatin to warm black rice and coconut pudding – and the global wine list is superb. The friendly staff are happy to talk you through the menu, but it’s just as much fun to be surprised. Prices can mount up, especially if you’re grazing, so it’s well worth going for the express/pre-theatre menu – not only is it good value, featuring some of Kopapa’s most popular dishes, but it’s available for an unusually long period each day.