The neon sign of Kapara welcomes you to “A Tel Aviv fantasy”, in much the same font as one used to see outside less salubrious doors also promising a “fantasy” experience. This is Soho so the choice of font is likely to have been intentional but the culinary fantasy promised at Eran Tibi’s (of Bala Baya fame) second restaurant is quite different.
Being great fans of Coal Office, Bala Baya and Balady, Elldrew were super excited to have been invited to the softest of soft launches at London’s latest Israeli restaurant, Kapara, last weekend.
It was very soft; the tables belonged outside (the real tables had been delivered the wrong height and were now three weeks away our host shared), the hastily typed menu had taramasalata as a vegan option(!), and the mirrors were not yet hung in the bathrooms. But none of that mattered…the pink palace of a venue is a decadent shrine to hedonism (the love child of Bette Davis and Oslo Court remarked one of our fellow diners) and the staff were full of excitement, joy and passion, even though they told us they’d barely slept in haste to make the soft launch date.
And the food…well we hope the tasting menu we experienced was a hint of what will come on the final menu.
We started with a basket of their home baked breads – Bala Bake – accompanied by the not-vegan taramasalata, with hummus as fine as any found in Tel Aviv, green chilli and a coriander dip. Then a plate of shawarma herb encrusted chips made of homemade pitta, flame grilled on the in-house wood fired oven, a delicious refreshing pesto winter tomato salad and their Romano carpaccio; peppers marinated in charcoal and sliced so thin they were almost translucent. Yum.
A ceviche of black bream followed, it was fabulous, with a hint of apple and lime cutting through. Next, a flame grilled aubergine heart that was honestly one of the best aubergine dishes we’ve ever had; crunchy with a soft centre topped with a pine nut jam, tahini and clementine marmalade. The “Cheeky Bums” – worth a cheeky giggle with that name – were tender chicken skewers on lettuce with butter chilli and house pickles that seemed to us an Israeli take on chicken tikka, delicious. The only dish we didn’t love was the “Cod Chops”, a bit too fishy and bony for Elldrew’s palate.
The meal was wrapped up with a tasting platter of Kapara’s desserts. They were rich, nutty and divine but Elldrew need to be honest, by this point the round-after-round of Arak and Kapara’s signature “Love Shot” were taking their toll and dessert is all a little hazy.
It was a hoot of a night; Kapara we will be back. And readers, if you too make it there do go to the toilets and pay close attention to the custom designed tiles (unless you are of a sensitive disposition in which case don’t)!
For other restaurant reviews check them out here