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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Coppa Club - Crispy Fried Truffled Gnocchi to Die For!

Name: Coppa Club

Where: 9-10 Market Place, London,W1W 8AQ, www.coppaclub.co.uk

Cost: Nibbles cost £2.95, small plates are priced from £4.95 to £9.95, mains are £10.95 to £18.95, with pizze at £7.45 to £9.45, and pasta dishes from £9.95 to £13.45. Filtered water, both still and sparkling, is refreshingly free.  Cocktails are priced at a reasonable £6.25. The house white is a Pinot Bianco/Garganega blend from Veneto, while the red is a Sicilian Syrah, both priced at £16.35.

About: Market Place, tucked away just a couple of blocks northeast of Oxford Circus, is home to a number of restaurant groups including the lovely Honest Burger (I bow down before their rosemary salted chips), as well as Italian (Carluccio), French (Cote) and Mexican (Tortilla) options.  On the Friday summer’s evening we were there, the area was packed with people enjoying an after work drink or meal, as well as shoppers and tourists settling down with their bags after day of bargain hunting.

Coppa Club is an bar and eatery with a great value cocktail list and a compact menu of bistro-style dishes with an Italian-inspired flavour, with an emphasis on pizza, pasta, small plates, steak and fries. Outside, there is a covered terrace with heaters and lighting for year-round use.

The bar and open plan kitchen are prominent in the ground floor restaurant, while the basement has a cosy cocktail bar.

What We Ate: We kicked off with a platter of fried truffled gnocchi (£2.95). These were a revelation – a crisp exterior with a velvety centre, deliciously perfumed with truffle and scattered with soft Parmesan cheese.

The crab bruschetta (£6.95) combined toasted bread with fresh crab, yoghurt, mint, chilli and lemon. With a fragrant scattering of lemon zest, this was simple but satisfying.

The fillet steak crudo on toasted sourdough (£6.95) combined chopped raw beef with tuna mayonnaise, lemon and paprika. Vitello tonato is a classic Italian dish with the unusual combination of beef and tuna, and this variation on the theme was delectable.

The crispy fried squid (£5.95) was also delicious, accompanied by a little bowl of spicy sriracha (Thai hot chilli sauce) mayonnaise, lemon and paprika.

For mains, we had the Coppa Club hot pizza (£9.45). With a good thin crust base  layered with spicy salami, nduja (Calabrian pork spread), chilli, tomato and mozzarella, this was a well made pizza.

To accompany it, we ordered also a house salad (£3.45) with lettuce, avocado and toasted seeds which was only let down by the 'jarred' taste of the dressing.

Better was the 8oz British ribeye steak (£18.95), served with grilled field mushrooms and watercress, and side orders of truffle cream (£2.50) and skinny fries (£2.95). Steak and chips is about as simple as it gets in restaurants, but Coppa Club’s version was just right for me – marbled, richly flavoured and served medium rare, served with crisp and salty chips.

For dessert, we had the rhubarb panna cotta (£5.45) - served with a scattering of orange zest, toasted oats and nuts, this had a good combination of textures and flavours, although the rhubarb was a little tough.

We also shared the mini butterscotch pot (£2.95) with salted caramel sauce and whipped crème fraiche was, for me, misconceived and oddly cheesy.

What We Drank: We started with a couple of cocktails (£6.25 each) – classic Negroni and Aperol Spritz, both well made and refreshing. 

With our main course, we had Salice Salentino Riserva, from Francesco Candido, Puglia (£29.15 per bottle or £9.95 per 250ml glass). One of my very favourite Italian red wines, this Riserva was very well made, with a complex nose of black cherries, mushroom and cedar, a lovely weight of fruit on the palate, and a long, satisfying finish. 

Likes: Friendly staff, central location in a quiet little enclave by Oxford Circus, great value cocktails and a tempting wine list. For me, the best dishes were the truffle gnocchi, the fillet steak crudo with tuna, and the steak and chips. It’s also open for breakfast and lunch.

Dislikes: A few of the dishes, for me, didn’t quite work – principally the salad and the butterscotch pot. 

Verdict: Coppa Club Oxford Street is a great place for meeting, drinking and relaxing in the heart of the West End, with probably the best value cocktails in the area. Open seven days a week, it’s a place I hope to revisit soon for a few Negronis and more fried truffled gnocchi! Recommended. 

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