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Review of Coppa Club

Seared yellowfin tuna steak with Mediterranean vegetables at Coppa Club in Brighton Square

Over the years, Brighton has seen more than its fair share of members clubs, writes Nick Mosley.

Quite why you’d want to sink a grand-or-so a year to sit around in a room full – or more likely, not full – of influencers and wannabes whilst quaffing over-priced drinks is beyond me but there are clearly plenty who do, yet not enough to make these venues financially sustainable in the city-by-the-sea. Back in the day, I’m thinking of the Hanbury Club and Stanmer House as prime examples… I could mention more contemporary venues but I’ve already burnt enough bridges over the years so my lips will remain zipped.

The refreshing thing about Coppa Club is that you get a members club vibe without the members club fee and this was part of their business model from day one; a smart yet informal lounge-cum-hotel lobby space and restaurant where you can have meetings, check your emails, catch up with friends or simply relax with a cuppa and read The Argus (obviously!). Yep, Coppa Club’s doors are freely open to all whether you’re drinking, dining or just taking the weight off your feet after a busy day of shopping in the Lanes.

Coppa Club is located in Brighton Square – a location in the heart of the city’s Lanes district that is definitely becoming a destination in its own right being bordered by stylish shopping in Hanningtons Lane and neighbouring premium eateries such as Embers, 64 Degrees, RYBKA and Blossoms. In addition to the physical venue itself, Coppa Club owns the ‘igloos’ in the square offering fun and funky private dining spaces that – thankfully – distract the eye from the 70s flats above the retail and restaurant units.

So, lets get down to the nitty-gritty: what’s on the menu?

Mushrooms on toast at Coppa Club in Brighton Square

In a nutshell, this is modern British bistro dining with more than a nod to the Mediterranean kitchen. The menu isn’t going to change your world but it’s extensive and pretty good. There is a breakfast menu available from 9am but the magic happens with their all-day dining card because there is genuinely something for everyone, and not just with dishes but also with those all-important dietaries. Vegetarians and vegans are very well-catered for; gluten-free diners get their very own extensive menu.

Crowd-pleasers include sourdough pizza, fresh pasta – available in large and small portions – and a well thought out choice of mains and grills including chicken, steaks, fish and vegetable dishes.

To start, a rather delicious mushrooms on toast that was on the right side of rich. Mushroom-based dishes can be overpowering when poorly executed but this was beautifully balanced – with a hint of tarragon – and would be a perfect light brunch in its own right.

Crispy spiced prawns with sweet chilli mayo and lemon at Coppa Club in Brighton Square

My dining partner tucked into crispy spiced prawns with sweet chilli mayo and lemon. Again, prawns can – and often do – go horribly wrong. When they are poorly refrigerated they get an unpleasant floury texture but these were plump and juicy perfection wrapped inside a light batter crumb that wasn’t greasy in the least.

The steak frites dish did exactly what was promised on the tin. A flat iron steak from the shoulder of the cow, this is always something to look for on a menu as for a relatively cheap cut it tends to deliver a decent bang-for-your-buck. Tender and low in fat, it was a steal for £17.50.

My yellowfin tuna steak was cooked to perfection. Seared and warm to the core but still rare melt-in-the-mouth, this dish was impressive and accompanied by a delicious side of Mediterranean-style green beans, tomatoes, new potatoes and olives. At £25, I’d say this is a better prepared and priced fish dish than you’d get at any seafood restaurant in the city right now.

It would be rude not to mention that the wine list is thoroughly approachable and I can happily report that the cocktails are spot-on too. This wasn’t my first rodeo at Coppa Club so I know they make one of the best cheeky afternoon martinis in town.

Whilst I love the how friendly the bar and floor team are – nothing is too much trouble and those smiles are genuine – I have to doff my hat off to the kitchen team at Coppa Club. Although the menu might not be earth-shatteringly creative, for a chain restaurant the level of cooking puts many Brighton restaurants that charge a lot, lot more to shame.

Nick Mosley

Coppa Club, 12-16 Brighton Square, Brighton BN1 1HD | 01273 900 731


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