As much as we may want to roll our eyes, there’s something quite comforting about eating at a chain restaurant. The familiarity of finding something on the menu that you enjoy in an area where you don’t often go is soothing. Chains will be there to welcome you, as did staff at the Coppa Club Clifton Village, Bristol.
Having said that, all the restaurants are individual and unique in their own right. And with the Bristol branch, entrepreneur Hugh Osmond took a gamble when he opened this new 200-cover all-day dining establishment in the latter half of 2021. But then he knows a thing or two about the hospitality industry having raked in a few million out of Pizza Express alone.
This Coppa Club is the eight-opening for the chain and the first one in the South West. Life for the company began in the leafy Berkshire village of Sonning back in 2015. Since then, they’ve opened restaurants in London, Brighton and the Home Countries.
Unlike most other restaurants, the concept behind this all-day-dining place is for people to use it as a drop-in to enjoy a coffee and a catch up with friends, allow remote workers to turn it in to their office space and utilise it for large gatherings for lunch or dinner and cocktails in the evening. Set across two levels, the place is sectioned off into areas that certainly lend themselves as a space to drink, eat and work.
Think central leather banquettes, wood-panelled library styled area with oversized armchairs and a bar area (The bar serves a list of classic cocktails with a Coppa twist, including their Negroni made with a locally-sourced Bristol Gin) with high tables and stools.
Here for an evening meal, my friend Susie and I were swiftly taken to the formal dining area on the ground level to our seats. Curious about the interior, our waiter informed me the exposed brickwork and floor-to-ceiling colonnades were from the days the building was home to the Old Linen Workshop.
Today though, Fox & Church interior design has given it make-over with dark blue leather, blush pouffes, and sofas teamed with oversized wicker baskets overflowing with foliage and eye-catching artwork, bringing it into the 21st Century.
As one can expect, lights are dimmed for the evening, but they have taken it to another level here. It was so dark where we were sat, both Susie and I had to whip out our smartphones to access the torch to read the menu. We weren’t alone – we saw other diners doing the same.
When we were able to read the menu, we discovered it is extensive enough to cater for everyone. There are hearty and lighter dishes like pasta, sourdough pizzas, grain bowls and salad. There’s also a dedicated starter, main and dessert section.
Coppa’s seasonal European dishes take centre stage for lunch and dinner with sharing plates of burrata with peas & broad beans, sashimi-grade tuna carpaccio with yuzu dressing and truffle & smoked mozzarella arancini to start. Heartier dishes of halibut ‘al cartoccio’ with fennel, freekeh & anchovy, roast lamb rump with rosemary and Loch Duart salmon with braised puy lentils are also available.
And how did our food fare in the taste test? It’s not Michelin-star, of course, but what you can get here is good hearty food cooked well as you can expect from a small chain like this. Having been familiar with the Sonning branch of Coppa Club, I understand chefs have to replicate dishes across the board to maintain consistency for the brand. So I guess heading here gave me a tad ‘home-to-home’ feeling, and there were no complaints from my plus one Susie either.
If you are not familiar with Bristol’s Clifton Village, it’s well served with dining options as well as being home to other chain restaurants like The Ivy Clifton Brasserie and Cote. But the all-day dining and dropping idea of the Coppa Club will allow it to thrive and hold its own.
Coppa Club Clifton Village – Where and How?
Coppa Clifton Village is situated in 2-10 Regent St Clifton Bristol BS8 4HG. It’s open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm Monday to Saturday and until 10 pm on Sunday. For more information, visit www.coppaclub.co.uk.
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