Smart, laid back, egalitarian, cheerful, cool. Copita is the model of modern metropolitan eating. It has a no booking policy. It draws in people who are smart, laid back, meritocratic, and cool, even if they aren’t necessarily egalitarian and cheerful. There’s communal eating at long, chunky wooden bar-level tables. There are creamy-toffee repro old railway lavatory tiles on the walls, and black & white harlequinade tiles on the floor. And the menu punches above its weight, gastronomically and in terms of price. The Copita kitchen goes for the mini-tapas approach. There are plenty of dishes under £5 and only two above £10. The bill was £120. HOW MUCH?! For spiced carrots, duck egg with smoked mushrooms x 2; mackerel, bergamot & rhubarb tartar; wood pigeon, foie gras & leek terrine; jamon broth with sweetbreads and red prawns; two gasses of a fine Lusta Manazanilla Amontillada and a bottle of reasonable red. Ok, so the drinks pushed things up, but still that’s not a little money for food that is smart, laid back, egalitarian, cheerful and cool.
And good. In fact the food was very good, much crisper, more confident and clever than I had imagined. I’m not convinced that the perfume of bergamot is a natural accompaniment to mackerel, but the ducks eggs made a rich, creamy sauce with the very lightly smoked and generous mushrooms. The jamon broth with sweetbreads and red prawns was another stonkingly good dish, too, potent, incisive and dainty.
But the trouble with bite-sized helpings is that they are just that, bite sized. I had four courses. That’s four mouthfuls, and, while my dietician would approve, my tummy begs to differ. In order for lunch or dinner to get to critical mass, you have to spend the kind of money you would in a restaurant where you can book and they will guarantee you a table, which you won’t have to share with strangers. There is something functional about restaurants of Copita’s kind. Few of them function as well as Copita. I enjoyed my rapid-fire lunch there very much, but will I be able to remember a single thing about it a year from now, or even 6 months? I rather doubt it.
Copita, 26 D’Arblay St, W1F 8EP
020 7287 7797