Cosy and cool in equal measure, this capacious all-day dining venue is a quality new addition to Clifton Village
We were quick to warm to the Regent Street newcomer finding its feet in Clifton on the weekday evening we popped up to Coppa Club for dinner. Abuzz with Thursday-is-the-new-Friday festivity, it felt good to see fresh life breathed into the huge space that housed Pizza Express for years.
The restaurant has been pretty radically revamped and gone is the monochrome Noughties minimalism in favour of bright colour and inviting texture – fat velvet furnishings in burnt orange, cyan and ochre, statement mirrors, and floor-to-ceiling plants (we’re told Bristol Green Fingers is a great Facebook group to join for getting your hands on these) including olive trees at the door. It’s an all-day joint with pleasant workspace for encouraging the Village community to congregate for the daily grind (coffee, you understand: working here surely would be far from a tiresome trial). It’s elegant, polished – not showy, ostentatious – with a young staff eager to please.
We had a couple of batida coladas in an effort to compensate for 2021’s bypassed summer holiday indulgence and, with two kinds of Caribbean rum, condensed milk, mango puree and lime, they almost did the trick, setting the bar to ‘sumptuous’. Continuing the feel of foreign climes, we segued into starters of truffle and smoked mozzarella arancini – the truffle refreshingly apportioned so as to characterise rather than overpower – and seared king prawns that brought Mediterranean memories to mind. Garlicky, lemony goodness had soaked into the hunk of bread the shrimp was piled up on; chilli and parsley teaming up to upgrade the mouth party.
A generous plateload of linguine, enlivened by capers, chilli and anchovy, followed for main, under a fistful of hand-picked white Devon crab meat. Far and away the stand-out dish was the orecchiette con cime di rapa: soft ears of pecorino-covered pasta with salty, buttery tenderstem broccoli, gently elevated with chilli and garlic.
Once we’d admitted defeat and abandoned our dishes, there was no discussion over dessert. It was not needed, but such is our weakness for words deliciously strung together on a menu that, after a subtle point of the finger, dessert arrived anyway. More puzzling still, during a period of idle post-prandial gossip, the soft, zingy orange polenta cake, glistening with honey drizzle – it also came with a blood moon of crimson scorched fig in a small pool of cool yogurt – disappeared completely. It did require the undoing of trouser buttons, but we had no issue with that, nor the following hour spent digesting over in the cosy snug, which we’ve very much got our eyes on for remote working this autumn.