OUR DINING EXPERIENCE- "COPRA " IN SAN FRANCISCO
Knowing that we are foodies, whenever we visit him in the US, my son makes it a point to take us out to interesting restaurants wherever we happen to be. He mentioned a new Indian restaurant called Copra that had received many rave reviews in the press and on social media.
It is located at 1700 Filmore, by co-incidence the very same location as the old "Dosa" which we had visited a few years ago. We naturally were excited at the thought of dining here and he made the reservations for us. Make sure you reserve well in advance to enjoy dining here. I was told that when it first opened the reservations were booked for the first 30 days!!
The decor is striking! Quite different as you would imagine from most restaurants in the US. There is the Indian touch in the choice of artefacts and the ambience.
This restaurant is the brain child of two people: Executive Chef Srijith "Sri" Gopinathan and co-owner Ayesha Thapar, a restauranteur. Sri is a two star Michelin Chef and has worked earlier in the Taj Group of Hotels, cutting his teeth in the Taj at Bengaluru. He later spent many years in the Taj Campton in San Francisco. He and Ayesha started a venture Ettan in Palo Alto, Ca. in February 2020 which became- and continues to be - quite popular.
Our dining experience at Copra recently was most enjoyable.
We started by ordering drinks. I opted for the Ramacham Manhattan ( Ramacham, Black Cardamom, Sweet Vermouth, and Bourbon) which was quite delicious and something new for me.
Served with our drinks were Pappadoms and Quinoa Crisps with a Chutney Palette comprising four very different types of chutneys: Wild Gooseberry, Burnt Chilli-Tamarind; Coconut Green Sambal; and Ghost Chili Chutney. All of them were lip-smacking. My favourite amongst these had to be the Burnt Chilli-Tamarind chutney.
Next came the starters-called Kadi ( after the Malayalam word for "Bites") here. We had Oysters with Fermented Chilies, Tamarind, and White Soy. I loved the way this dish was presented. We enjoyed the luscious oysters by scooping them out with a spoon.
We also had the exotic-sounding Shinko Pear Sundal made with Black Chickpea, Raw Mango, Persian Cucumber, Red Onion and Nasturtium. The ingredients for the Sundal were brought to the table and like in a salad were mixed in a bowl for our enjoyment.
In the next course, 'Light" in Copra speak, we asked for an innovative Thayir Vadai Chaat. This has Madras Mixture, Green Grapes, Citrus, Chili Cashew nuts and Date Chutney. Though the Thayir Vadai tasted just the same as it would in India, the combination of ingredients complementing it made it that much more appealing.
For the main course we were torn between many options that sounded delectable. Finally we chose three dishes. The first was the Black Cod Pollichatu- supposed to be one of the Chef's personal favourites. This came wrapped in banana leaves. It had shallot crust, had been cooked on cast iron and was served with red Matta rice and Moilee Broth.
The second was the Konkan Crab Curry. This had crabs simmered in roasted coconut, coriander, tamarind, and red onion. It came with the Kerala favourite Appam with an egg in the centre. As you might know, eating crab can be a messy affair but is totally worth the effort. Our friends expertly wielded the crab cracker for us.
Egg Appam with Chutney Palette in the background
In my opinion, and that of the majority of our group that evening, the stand out dish was the Black Cod Pollichatu.
Naturally we had to close the delicious meal with a dessert. We had the Palkova and Pear Toast made with jaggery, nutmeg, and grated milk.
Overall, we loved the decor, service and last but not the least- the food. Highly recommended for Indian food- especially if you like dishes from the South Indian States of Kerala and Tamilnadu.