Sunday, 24 August 2014

Review of Copita, 26 D'Arblay Street, W1F 8EL

Star Rating: *** 

A reunion with school friends is always a great excuse to have a good meal and try out a new restaurant, and so on Thursday night, a group of us agreed to meet at Copita, a Spanish tapas bar in Soho. I'd heard some good things about this place, and looking at a few online reviews, all of which seemed to be really positive, I was excited to give it a try.

Copita only takes reservations for lunchtime, so we were unable to book for our evening meal. We got there for 6ish, and there was plenty of space, so we got a table and started to peruse the gin menu (yep, a whole menu of different gin and tonics) and soak in the atmos. Having recently returned from Madrid, I can say that Copita does have a very Spanish feel, with bar seating and Serrano hams hanging from the ceiling. It's got a nice, relaxed vibe, and that combined with an extensive gin menu, gave me a good first impression. We ordered some gins, and moved onto the main menu.

Extensive gin menu, all served in balloon glasses apparently (ours weren't)
Thumbs up for the g&t
The tapas menu, which apparently changes daily, was a fairly compact, consisting of your standard Spanish chorizo, hams, olives and bread, plus a few fancier things like anchovies with pork crackling, truffled goat's cheese with almonds and honey, and ajo blanco (white garlic soup) with beetroot. We ordered a good selection of different tapas and waited in anticipation.

The first of our dishes to arrive was the chorizo. It was the thinly sliced, cold chorizo, rather than the cooked, thicker chunks of chorizo that I was expecting. However, it was totally delicious, and infact this was my favourite dish of the night- great quality and perfect to pick at whilst having a drink. Slowly and steadily, small plate after small plate arrived and our table. The truffled goat's cheese with almonds and honey had a good strong flavour, and I liked the idea of it, but it was extremely rich. Too rich for me infact, and you get a fairly hefty portion of it, served with little crostinis. The mushroom croquettes (£1.05 each), were not seasoned enough and were pretty forgettable, as were the potato, mustard and cheese fritters which were also basically croquettes (£2 each, slightly bigger than the mushroom ones). Amongst the croquettes I've had, I didn't rate them. The lamb rump with piquillo pepper was good, but not outstanding. The red onion, duck egg yolk and paprika crisps was a pleasant surprise for me. I couldn't quite see how that would come together, but I liked it; it was moreish, and the duck yolk was lovely and creamy and perfect to dunk the crisps into.

Delicious chorizo

Super rich truffled goat's cheese with honey and almonds

Paprika crisps, red onion, duck egg yolk.

We decided against a pudding, and were just making our way through the rest of our wine, when one of the waitresses told us she needed the table in 10 or 15 minutes, could we finish up please. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't like to be told to hurry up, even if it is in busy Soho on a Thursday night. I understand that a restaurant needs to make its money, but I think it's kind of shooting yourself in the foot a bit, if your paying customers who have just spent a fairly large amount on food and drink in your restaurant, are made to feel rushed. I wasn't too impressed with that to be honest, especially when the bill worked out to be over £30 each, which for me is alot for a meal out. Anyway we aren't the sort to put up a fuss, so we just said yes of course, but didn't rush our wine too much....until 10 minutes later when we were told again to hurry up. After that it was just getting a bit stressful so we gulped our wine and left.

Would I go back?

I wouldn't go back for a meal. I'd go for a pre-dinner gin and tonic, and perhaps a plate of chorizo. But kind of grudgingly. Initially I really liked Copita. The vibe early on in the evening was laid backed, the gins here are fantastic (expensive, but nice for a treat), and it does feel like a little bit of Spain in the heart of London. However, I wasn't overwhelmed by the food, which I thought on the whole was a bit pretentious, and lacked the wow-factor. Maybe we ordered the wrong things, but it was a little bit of a disappointment for me, after hearing alot of hype around it. My advice would be to keep it simple- go with the hams, chorizos and cheeses.     

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