In a nutshell
Beautifully refurbished Coppa Club restaurant sits beside the River Thames in the charming Berkshire village of Sonning. It’s a multi-tasker, combining a restaurant and bar into a social space that’s perfect for bringing people together, whether it be for work or play. Chef Matt Fanthorpe, one time side-kick of Jamie Oliver at Jamie’s Italian, is at the helm in the kitchen.
This is a menu bursting with simple Italian dishes that makes the most of fresh produce delivered daily. It’s divided into nibbles and small plates ideal for sharing (£2.95 – £12.95); then larger dishes such as pastas and sourdough pizzas, seasonal salads and grills (£5.45 – £19.95).
For nibbles, try chorizo sausages coated in a wonderfully sticky honey, paprika and mustard glaze. Eat alongside buttery, sweet Castelvetrano olives to cut through the rich meat.
Starter-wise, fritto misto is the highlight; scallops, king prawns and squid (complete with tentacles), all perfectly cooked, lightly crisp, and paired with a piquant tartare sauce. For mains, try the whole roast sea bass, simply cooked and layered with courgette and garlic, served with rocket and cherry tomatoes. And make sure you order the pan-roasted potatoes on the side. These are an exercise in comfort food, full of salty savouriness from the parmesan and fried sage leaves.
Just as good as the sea bass is a plate of pink English lamb chops that cut with incredible ease. They’re bursting with flavour, and are traditionally paired with a mint salsa verde. As for dessert, your best bet is the flourless chocolate and almond cake; an unimaginably decadent pudding, lifted with orange crème fraîche.
What’s the room like
The main dining room is light and airy, benefiting from large windows that frame a beautiful view of the River Thames. Exposed brickwork is softened with a neutral colour palate and accent of greens, blues and gold. For a more intimate experience, there are a number of dining booths and a smaller rustic dining space complete with wood beams.
What I’d go back for
Those chorizo sausages (aka nuggets of joy), the lamb chops and yet more parmesan potatoes on the side. Plus, it’s the kind of relaxed setting that we’d love to experience again.
Written by Diane Amesbury, September 2015 ataleoftwosittings.co.uk
All images by Diane Amesbury
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