Last night I went to The Copa with an old friend from the NT. He’s the food safety epidemiologist in Darwin and had come to Canberra for a meeting. We thought The Copa would be a good place to try out. On the Mother’s Day weekend this year The Copa made the news when a significant number of patrons became severely unwell with Salmonella gastroenteritis. Some of the patrons became inpatients at The Canberra Hospital. In addition to the Salmonella gastroenteritis, there were reported problems with the exhaust extraction system from the barbecue area requiring an evacuation of the premises. Since that event the restaurant has undergone an investigation and issued an apology to all the affected patrons.
On entry the restaurant wasn’t buzzing. Only a few tables were occupied. We were shown our table and the menu system was explained. For $39 you get some salad and sauces and lots of meat. Check out the menu at http://www.thecopa.com.au/pdf/COPA-WEB-MENU.pdf
We really didn’t touch the salads. My friend had been preparing all day by only drinking water and avoiding food. He was hungry and keen on a big barbecue. His wife is Portuguese and he was looking forward to a feast. I had prepared differently, I just ate what I normally ate all day.
The barbecue meats came out regularly and frequently. Small portions were cut off and we used our tongs to put them on our plates. We were also issued with some prawns, calamari and fish.
All in all the quality of the five essential food groups, viz., seafood, poultry, bovine, ovine and porcine was good. This is not fine dining. The meats had been marinaded and rubbed with spices and herbs and most were quite salty. We got through all the meats quickly and we didn’t see any point in eating the salads and wasting gastric space. I quite enjoyed the meal and the cuts of meat that were used and then served. I had no qualms about the safety of the food. Large muscle bundles not contaminated with body cavity contents are safe so long as the food is handled and prepared properly. In Australia every chicken and duck you see on a supermarket shelf you should assume contains Salmonella and/or Campylobacter. Poultry requires proper cooking, I cannot stress too much the importance of good food handling and proper cooking. I didn’t touch any of sauces not that I had any concerns with them.
My friend was still very hungry after all the meat had been served and asked for more which the servers were happy to oblige.
I didn’t visit the dunny so can’t give a rating but in terms of napkins it was a fail (paper) and in terms of waiter etiquette it was a pass (plates were gathered after we’d finished).
I rate The Copa as worthwhile for a bunch of blokes wanting a feed of meat. It’s not a date venue.
After The Copa we went to the local Cold Rock a short walk away and enjoyed large tubs of ice cream for dessert.
The barbecue doesn’t really lend itself well to food photography because the meat is being delivered continuously. I didn’t want to spend the whole meal capturing images. These are a portion.
The Copa http://www.thecopa.com.au/
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/kNfvX