This is the one where I become a convert to parfait.

Donkey said it best.

“Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”?” (Shrek, 2001)

Until a week ago, I was that person. I just didn’t get parfait. It always seemed like lazy ice cream to me. All inconstant textures, shards and granules. It was an iced dessert in the midst of an identity crisis.

Now that I’ve been to Kopapa and had NZ chef Peter Gordon’s ginger parfait with rhubarb, I’m having to completely reconsider my place in the world.

The texture is nothing but cold creamy clouds, studded with the exoticism of pistachios. The stem ginger is strident and sexy. The rhubarb dressing is a strident foil for the richness of it all.  It’s spoon scrapingly good stuff. I now have to take everything back.

There’s so much to like about this relaxed and sprightly space on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden.

The fact that one of the waitresses turns out to be one of our favourite from back home at Sydney’s Sopra is just one.

Here are some others; they produce very generous pours of Campari over ice. It manages be buzzy, but not overbearingly noisy (which considering the tiled floors, is quite a feat). They’ll  squeeze in two blow ins off the street early on a Saturday evening, without a booking and seat them right in the centre of the room.

During the day Kopapa excels in caffeine and brunch style bites. In the evening the menu is intimidatingly large, covering quick snacks, tapas plates, platters, soups, a vegetarian section, larger mains and desserts.  There are some kooky looking pairings listed and also some as simple as padron peppers (which were the only low point of our evening, arriving slightly flabby and oily).

This is a menu pumping with fusion food in a way that reminds me of Christine Manfield’s confidence with global flavours at Universal in Sydney.

It’s a menu that’s  bold and brave. Peter’s not afraid to match a fatty rillette style mound of pork with the zingier contrast of chilli, coconut and gapi (fermented Thai shrimp paste) on endive leaves.

It’s a satisfying carnival of spice, bitterness and richness that points to a very precise palette at work in the kitchen.

Asian flavours also come to the fore in a spongy deep fried egg dressed with chilli and lime and flecked with mint and coriander. When punctured the egg yolk floods the pudding sized bowl, creating an exciting dressing (that is pretty great swiped up with bread).

Coconut pork ribs may not look like much, all lumpen and dripping, but they make up for it in the texture stakes. The meat sags off the bones and the coconut sauces is deep and sweet, reminding both The Hungry One and I of rich satay sauces and Massaman curries. It’s food that would play just as well on a bitter night as a boiling one. Which is good, because as we sit there we can imagine some very charming summer’s eves being spent looking up at the blinking lights of the West End. One day we’ll make it to Chicago, I’m sure.

But if there was another dish beyond the parfait that calls me back, it would be the bone marrow and parmesan on toast. This is marrow for beginners- there are no bones to mess around with, no digging with skinny spoons to fluster yourself with. Here the unctuous wobbles have been muddled with the umami flavours of parmesan, creating something that very indulgent indeed.

It arrives slathered on charred toast, next to a relish of beetroot and horseradish which acts an exclamation point. It’s staggeringly good stuff.

The coffee is great (an exclusive blend from Monmouth), the staff unflappable in their energy (which considering the pass is down a stern set of stairs is impressive) and the location just far, far too convenient.

As I write this I’m scraping for excuses to head back. My mother is coming over soon- I need to scout for  places to take her. That’s one. There’s still so much more to try on the menu; that’s another (we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface).

But more than that; I need to solidify my new place in the world as a parfait lover. I think I feel the need to celebrate.

Good thing I know just the place. 

(020) 7240 6076
32 Monmouth St

London, WC2H 9
Tube: Charing Cross

Kopapa on Urbanspoon

  1. hehe great minds think alike! I was just reading about parfait and thinking of making one! 😀

  2. Parfait's gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet 😉

    Both Lolli and I will quote from Shrek for happily ever after….


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