Copita Del Mercado, London

12.13.2014

Dining out at new restaurants are risky, you don't know what the food will be like (most likely there will not be a menu online) and the service may not be up to your standard. There has been many hit and miss times, where the food was good but the service wasn't and vice versa. I don't expect new openings to be perfect and it does take at least couple months before it gets into the flow. Copita Del Mercado popped up in my email for soft launch, I wasn't interested for a booking originally. We couldn't have the time slot that we wanted for the place that we wanted to dine. So I sugguested to Mr T to go for Copita Del Mercado.

Copita Del Mercado is the offspring to the Copita restaurant in Soho. The original Copita is a huge success, listed in the Michelin Guide having obtained a Bib Gourmand in 2013. I only knew about Copita after some research for the blog, it has good reviews offering good tapas food at moderate prices. The new Copita promises to serve larger portions than the original Copita, steering slightly away from the original tapas concept. It's not the easiest restaurant to find especially when it does not have a sign yet. So we stood outside staring not knowing if we made it at the right place or not.

Menu

Bread & Olive Oil

The menu does stay true to the root of Spain, it is small but to the disappointment they ran out of "Ox Tongue" special already for the evening service and it was replaced with a warm vegetables salad. We were there around 7:15pm and there was only one other table at the time before it started getting busy. I always order bread for nibble when it is available. You can judge how good a restaurant is by their bread and it was a miss. It was cold and on the edge of going dry as it was left out too long. It had all the quality of being the perfect bread if it wasn't left out for I don't know how long. The waitress seems very confused when we asked her for a suggestion of wine. She said they had a wine tasting before opening and there was this one that she particularly liked which unfortunately she couldn't locate on the wine list. We ended up with a carafe of Pinot Noir, to Mr T description it tasted vinegary and just about to cross the line of awful. 

Tuna Tartare, Tarragon, Butter, Apple & Pine Kernels

Truffled Crushed Potatoes, Spinach, Slow Cooked Duck Egg Yolk

The tuna tartare was not bad, I liked the texture of the soft tuna against the crunchy apple giving the dish a good dimension. Mr T thought the tuna was a bit too lean, could have used a more fattier tuna. Giving the name of crushed potatoes, who would have thought it came in the confusing form of grainy mash potatoes. Beside that it was unbelievably deliciously good, the taste of the truffle in the potatoes lingers in your mouth for a long time. Thanks to Mr T, just a blink of an eye he ate it all.

Seabass Fritura with Piquillo Peppers

Grilled Octopus, Arrocina Beans & Sobrasada

Rest of the meal went downhill, it wasn't memorable. I misread fritura as fritter so I was surprised to see a whole fillet of seabass deep fried instead of the seabass sliced and deep fried. The seabass was coated lightly and did not feel greasy but this whole dish lacked something, a sauce as it felt a bit dried; even an aïoli would have accompanied nicely. The octopus was cooked beautifully, weirdly it had a Chinese taste to it and till now I still can't describe that Chinese taste; I thought long and hard but cannot recall that Chinese dish.

Neck of lamb, Pistachio Migas & Apricot

Roasted Acorn-fed Iberico Presa, Pincho Moruno Salsa

I remembered watching Masterchef Professional recently and Marcus Wareing said sous-vide cooking doesn't always work, sometime you have to stay true to classical cooking. He is indeed right this time, as much as sous-vide can keep a piece of meat moist and tender, it loses the flavour of the meat. This is what happened to the lamb and the iberico presa (presa is a fantastic cut at the end of the pork loin next to the neck), the meat flavour was lost. The meat was just a bit on the rare side, I would have liked it a little bit more cooked and for the pork probably the rarest I have ever served and had. Funny enough, they tasted quite similar and if given a blind test I could not tell which was which.

Copita Del Mercado was a disappointment, the food was average, the wine was terrible and the service didn't tick the box. If it wasn't for the soft launch, I wouldn't have come. Who knows, maybe Copita will tell a different story. Hopefully, a better story.

Score Rating: 2.5/5
Price: £30/head (25% soft launch, ~£60 for 2 people)

Copita Del Mercado on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

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