The hustle and bustle of shoppers clambering around Oxford Circus can prove stressful, especially now, in the lead-up to Christmas. Should you crave momentary respite from crawling through a sea of shoppers, step down a side street in the direction of Soho, where you’ll find a collection of cafes, bars and restaurants. Coppa Club, a clean-lined restaurant with a bistro vibe, is amongst them.
I went to Coppa Club when I was quite hungry, on a Saturday evening. As a consequence, only one item on the menu jumped out at me: the hearty sirloin steak. As with all the steaks I’ve reviewed on my blog (exhibits A and B and C and D), I had mine rare.
I would have enjoyed my steak even more had I had a satisfying béarnaise sauce to dip it into, which unfortunately Coppa Club didn’t feature. I can’t begrudge them this too much – it is a general restaurant after all, not a specialised steak eatery.
The cocktail list wasn’t terribly long, but Coppa focused on getting the drinks which they did advertise right. My negroni was vibrant, incisive and very boozy. It complemented the juicy bloodiness of meat a treat.
So, ostensibly, Coppa Club got the food and the drink right. Why the C grade, then?
Well, firstly, I’m disappointed to report that the toilets were an absolute nightmare. One was unflushed and the bog was full of stuff that’ll haunt my nightmares. The second had piss all over the toilet seat. Only the third one was clean, but that one didn’t have any loo roll, meaning I had to take the loo roll from one of the dirty cubicles. This meant I had to actually step foot in there.
The first too strikes are not technically the fault of the restaurant – they can’t help it if their clientele don’t have any decorum. Given the laid-back vibe of Coppa Club, some punters probably came here more to drink than to eat, so probably had a bit to drink when they decided to, er, decorate the toilets without flushing or cleaning up after themselves, shall we say.
But to not have a supply of tissue in all three cubicles is just downright poor. The food prices in Coppa Club weren’t exorbitant (£24.95 for a steak with fries is fair), but it was hardly McDonald’s-level prices either, yet McDonald’s toilets would be a bastion of cleanliness compared to the washrooms here. It almost put me off my dinner.
The second gripe, is that, when I asked if there was any béarnaise sauce, the waiter rather unhelpfully added, ‘no, but you can have truffle cream’.
In the end, I did order truffles, just because he had me at ‘cream’ (I adore my condiments!), although for £2.50, I think it’s safe to say I didn’t get value for money on that front.
But I’m more annoyed in the sense that truffles aren’t a good substitute for béarnaise sauce. He could have offered me mayonnaise or tomato ketchup instead, as, imperfect as they are, at least they’re of the condiment variety. The 'truffle cream' from Coppa were a fungus turned into some stodgy cream, which barely had any flavour anyway. Totally different ballpark!
I strongly suspect the reason truffles were pushed on me instead of the sauces, was because they were free, whereas truffles required payment (daylight robbery for what they were, given you can barely see them in this photo). This kind of shady underhand tactic, where the venue cares more about making money than they do the customer being satisfied, was not to my liking. Couple that, with the vile state of the toilets, and I couldn’t in good faith recommend this place to anyone.
I suffer all the bad/dirty restaurants in London so you don't have to. For all of my restaurant write-ups, click here. If you would like me to visit your venue, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.