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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tapas courtesy of Copita

I'm quite a fan of Spanish tapas, but must admit, I do need to be in the mood for food that comes leaden with a lifetime of dining memories (and by that, I mean something I've eaten too much of over the years!). Whether it be calamari and octopus on one of the Costa's when I was a child (in-between camping in the Lakes, the odd bus holiday was all the rage in my family since my Dad drove a very nice one on the continent and sometimes had the back seats going free...for free!), or Spanish omelette and baked chorizo at home with my Mum, we always ate well, with other cultures and customs in mind. I routinely sat on my mates' floors with empanadas, Serrano ham and pitted fresh olives during my early twenties (amidst box-sets of Sex In The City and Prison Break of course!), then in my late twenties and early thirties, I've gorged on copious amounts of patatas bravas, croquettes, tomato bread and Manchego cheese boards both at home and abroad.

I am a massive fan of Brindisa (mainly because I'm addicted to the Bomba served in their Soho eatery), so on the rare occasion I need Spanish tapas in my life, I usually head down to Broadwick Street to satisfy the craving! On Friday, I ventured to Copita on D'Arblay Street instead, where we got crazy lucky with a table outside at 19:30 without a wait - it was extremely busy though, and I heard the wait thereafter was up to an hour. Moral of the story therefore, as with so many places these days, get there at a good time, take a risk and/or be prepared to stand around with a pint (or copita!) while you wait.

The menu is so perfectly non-pretentious and easy, and despite my love of patatas bravas, I was actually pleased to see some really alternative small plates on offer - all the staff were Spanish too, which always seems like a good thing! The monkfish, caramelised onions and parsley was amazingly tender and only £5.95 for four small, yet perfectly formed succulent chunks; similarly, the venison steak with crushed potatoes was well cooked and really tasty (£8.10), and the chorizo de bellota was of exceptional quality, melt in the mouth almost. I'm afraid that the tiger prawns with chilli and garlic butter were a little fishy for my liking, but the sauce was diptastic, so I shan't complain! Prices are really good and anywhere between 4 - 6 dishes between two people would be both delicious and not bank-breaking.

My only gripe here also doubles up as a small source of confusion though. Copita literally means small glass or shot, so are they basically suggesting a tot with each plate?! If so, this is not possible with drinks being served the way they are here - my gin was brought to me in a giant goblet-sized wine glass and it gleefully lasted the duration of the meal (almost!). The gin was indeed, epic and I opted for the GinMare & Basil, which was delicious, but at a staggering £11.90 for 50ml measure, a copita it was not and cheap was most definitely not...

Overall, I want to go back for the blue cheese & potato croquettes and I definitely want to sample more of that gin despite the price tag.

Copita on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Cheese board - £11.00

Tiger prawns with chilli and garlic butter - £6.95

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