If you’re a keen observer of London‘s dining scene, chances are you’ve indulged at Bala Baya, the vibrant and cult-favorite Israeli eatery helmed by Chef Eran Tibi. His second culinary venture in London, Kapara, offers a tantalizing interpretation of Tel Aviv’s cuisine. Much like its predecessor, Kapara encapsulates Tibi’s penchant for delivering an experiential culinary journey. Drawing inspiration from Tel Aviv’s culinary palette, this relatively new establishment has already generated considerable buzz in town since its opening a few months ago. I recently had the opportunity to sample their latest menu during a delightful press event, and it was truly an extraordinary fusion of flavors.
Kapara: A Tel Aviv-inspired Party Restaurant
Tucked away within a new plaza near the bustling Tottenham Court Road, Kapara emerges as a beacon on the tranquil Manette Street. Upon stepping inside, the ambiance teems with vivaciousness—alive with animated conversations and the clinking of glasses. Eran Tibi’s Instagram bio describes Kapara as ‘the naughtier sibling of Bala Baya’, setting the stage for an online persona steeped in fantasy, extravagance, and a hint of the daring. However, stepping through the entrance reveals a contrasting allure—a realm defined by luminosity and expansive space. Bronze fans overhead stir, reminiscent of the warmth found in Israel and the Middle East. Within, tiled floors and walls dressed in shades of pink, peach, and terracotta transport guests to sunnier climes, a stark contrast to the lingering winter beyond.
Kapara’s design seamlessly blends with its trendy ethos. The softly lit space emits an enchanting allure, boasting opulent velveteen furniture and inviting booth seating that exudes luxury. Ascending to the upper level unveils a sprawling bar adorned with shimmering chandeliers and gilded accents, adding an air of opulence—a perfect prelude to a night out.
The Culinary Experience
Contrary to its online persona, Kapara unveils an ambiance that is surprisingly more open and inviting. Welcomed with delightful cocktails upon arrival at the bar, we descended downstairs to discover an intimate, darker setting—a perfect enclave for private dinners. The transition from shades of pink to rich reds and blacks evoked a different, more indulgent atmosphere. As we settled in with our cocktails, an array of dishes promptly graced our table. Venturing into the culinary haven of Kapara, where vibrant flavors and imaginative dishes collide, is a sensory experience unlike any other. Recently unveiled, their new promise a tantalizing journey through Middle Eastern-inspired delights and innovative creations.
The starters introduce a tantalizing journey for the palate, inviting guests to indulge in the delightful simplicity of soft, freshly baked pita bread accompanied by luscious hummus. The Aubergine & Tomato Hummus, a blend of amba tahini, sumac, coriander, and shallots, unfolds layers of complexity, setting the tone for what lies ahead. Nestled among these tempting starters are the Cheesy Balls—a playful and indulgent offering. The crispy exterior yielding to a gooey, cheesy interior, these balls of indulgence offer a delightful contrast to the hummus and pita—an invitation to savor a moment of culinary decadence.
As the gastronomic journey progresses, guests are presented with a diverse selection of main courses, each dish a story in itself. The Shakshuka, a time-honored classic, boasts baked eggs in a rich tomato sauce, adorned with feta, preserved lemon, and fresh oregano—an ode to comfort and tradition. The Lamb Swirl offers slow-cooked lamb belly, plum ketchup, lamb jus, stewed plums, and lemon balm—an exquisite balance of richness and tang.
Concluding this culinary odyssey are desserts that delight and surprise. Bridgette, with its blend of orange blossom, semolina sponge, nectarine, pistachio, and olive oil, embodies a symphony of Mediterranean flavors. Meanwhile, the Sticky Treat, a combination of medjool dates, black treacle, Baharat Chantilly, and crumble, offers a decadent closure to an extraordinary meal.
This Soho gem embodies a playful spirit, perfect for extended gatherings with friends over reasonably priced plates and luscious cocktails. Beyond its lively online persona, it offers a different indulgence within. While the culinary excellence stands out, there’s a subtle sense that bypassing the revelry might mean missing out on part of its intended enjoyment.