Copita – Soho

Monks beard with carrots and tetilla cheesePickles and truffled goat’s cheese with almonds and honey The cheese boardWhile you may have to queue to get a seat in this busy little tapas restaurant, it is totally worth the wait. Tapas for vegetarians can be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes there are some great choices and in other restaurants you are lumbered with olives and bread while meat eaters get stuck into everything else. Copita in Soho not only has a great range of choices for vegetarians but they use unusual and interesting ingredients. As the waiter translated the names of some of the dishes into English for me, I realised there were many more options than I was expecting. It also makes a nice change to try new and exciting dishes – sadly, this is still quite a rare pleasure for vegetarians.

This was my second time in Copita, I have been before but that was on an evening where I had to queue for quite a while for a free table. But on my recent visit with my sister, we turned up on a quiet Saturday lunchtime and had no problems. The two of us perched on our high stools and watched the Saturday shoppers make their way up and down D’Arblay Street as we sipped on a glass of rioja – Ijalba Genoli Viura which was a clean and crisp young wine.

Our food came flying out of the kitchen. First there was the cheese board comprising of a smoked cheese, manchego and a beautiful ripe blue cheese accompanied by homemade quince jelly. Then came truffled goat’s cheese with almonds and honey which was wonderful. The goats cheese itself was very soft and wasn’t too overpowered by the rich truffle flavour. The sweet and sticky almonds and honey were a great contrast and balanced the dish well.

We also ordered monks beard with carrots and tetilla cheese. I wasn’t too sure what monks beard was but was told by the waiter they are green shoots which are only in season for five weeks of the year. When they arrived I realised they were very similar in appearance to samphire which is another ingredient vegetarians don’t normally get to enjoy as it is almost always teamed with fish. The monks beard was really enjoyable and was nice and light in comparison to the richer flavours of the other dishes.

Copita’s answer to bog standard patatas bravas were cubes of crumbed and deep fried Jerusalem artichoke with a creamy peanut ali-oli which was quickly wolfed down. This is typical of Copita – taking a traditional Spanish dish and revamping it for the modern diner. The mushroom croquette had a lovely earthy flavour with strong porcini undertones and the bowl of pickles were crunchy and sharp. The obligatory olives were the only slight disappointment as they were a little too soft for my liking.

The price was very reasonable for the amount we ate and drank, coming in at about £40 each.

All the tables throughout the restaurant are high with customers perching on canteen-style stools or standing. This helps create an informal, bar-like atmosphere. Because of this you can’t help but feel a little rushed. It probably wouldn’t be a good place for an intimate and drawn-out dinner but on the other hand, it is the perfect place to grab a quick meal with friends before heading for a night out in Soho’s late bars. It is noisy and bustling, full of energy and more importantly, serves fantastic food with a brilliant and exciting dishes for vegetarians.

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