Fusion or confusion? Even the definition of fusion food has left some food critics confused. The typical definition of fusion food is the combination of various regional flavours and cooking techniques to create dishes that are innovative and creative. Wasabi with your yorkshire pudding anyone?
With all the fusion restaurants popping up around London, the fusion/confusion boundary has become increasingly blurred. Which begs the question – what are the qualities that distinguish a good fusion restaurant from the bad? Perhaps Peter Gordon, co-owner of Kopapa and ‘father’ of fusion cooking in Europe, has the answer.
Kopapa, located in the heart of the Seven Dials district in Covent Garden, is managed by the Kiwi dominated team of Peter Gordon, Michael McGrath, Adam Wills and Brandon Allen. Coming from the fame of The Providores in Marylebone, owners Peter and Michael certainly know how to excite the tastebuds of the consumer.
As predicted, the menu is innovative and creative, taking the complying diner for a culinary journey. Ingredients seem to be sourced from every corner of the globe – Turkish eggs from the Changa Restaurant in Istanbul, Belper Knolle cheese from Switzerland and the somewhat tangy Sriracha sauce from Thailand. The Kopapa team is obviously a well travelled bunch.
Kopapa has a bubbling, vibrant atmosphere with service to match. It’s crowded yet comfortable. The venue itself is nothing to write home about. It has a relatively neutral decor, apart from the colourful floor tiles and the occasional splash of modern art.
The coffee is from Monmouth Coffee Company in Bermondsey and is sourced from single estate farms in Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia. My cappuccino was all that a coffee should be – rich, smooth and creamy. The froth was unbelievably dense and was topped with real chocolate sprinkles rather than the cheat’s version cocoa.
After much deliberation, I eventually settled on the Spiced banana French toast with grilled bacon, orange blossom labne, tamarind raisin relish & orange vanilla syrup (£8.90). Quite the mouthful. The dish was bursting with flavour and was a lot spicier than I expected. The zestiness of the orange and the spiciness of the tamarind blended remarkably well with the saltiness of the bacon. If I were to be picky, I would have asked for a little more bacon and a touch less tamarind.
The ricotta fritters with avocado & roast grape salad & pistachio caramel sauce ( £8.90) were also packed with flavour. The fritters were dense with great texture while the pistachio caramel sauce provided the touch of sweetness that it needed without it overpowering the dish. The grape salad also worked well as a light combination to the dense fritters.
The team at Kopapa has definitely mastered the art of fusion cooking.Perhaps it’s the trek from New Zealand to UK soil (and all the steps in between) that has inspired such a creative vision. Whatever it is, I hope Peter and the team continue to excite the tastebuds of fellow Londoners and keep us guessing.