An exclusive club atmosphere with a padded sofa chilled-out vibe – Emma Clegg goes to The Bath Townhouse to investigate.
Clearly thriving on its crisp alliteration, Coppa Club has extended its range of hospitality venues with a new one in central Bath. With existing bases in London, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, East Sussex and Bristol, the company describes their particular offering as “clubhouses in beautiful locations for you to escape the everyday. In the countryside, the heart of a village or with panoramic views of a city, we’re a bit like home, but better.”
That’s a grand claim, so I went along to test it out. Located at 18–19 Old Bond Street, once the home of GAP clothing, The Bath Townhouse has a curiously familiar imprint, now transformed with the unseen magic of the retail fitter into a heady mix of dark glamour, classic club comforts and an easy-going Art Deco vibe. Downstairs at the front the keynote is light and relaxed with cushioned chairs and low tables and towering plants such as bird of paradise and fiddle leaf fig, and at the back more serious forest green upholstery with the emphasis on restaurant; upstairs it’s pink and flamboyant, getting you in the mood to hit the cocktails and drop your guard. There’s also a whiff of Alice Through the Looking Glass in the WC, with its black-and-white chequered floor, firebrick red painted walls and white frames.
The Sprouting Broccoli Salad wooed me in writing and in the flesh with its pomegranates and toasted hazelnuts
The curved staircase, once providing access to GAP menswear, now has its walls painted with a brooding, resonant pattern of circles, arcs and curves. At the front of the building on the first floor you’ll find the extensive lounge area and cocktail bar, a devil-may-care glam symphony of shadowy pinks and brighter hues illuminated with backlit shelving, along with the glowing drinks bar to the right. There will also very shortly be a meeting room available on the upstairs floor.
The menu offers standard categories of Nibbles, Small Plates, Mains & Grills, Fresh Pasta, Sourdough Pizza, Salads & Bowls and Sides. It’s a crowd pleasing selection of dishes for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans, including a Coppa Vegan Burger (with plant-based patty) and a good selection of steaks and fish. Tempting in the pasta category was Tuscan Sausage Ragu with malfaldine pasta and there was plenty of superfood content from the Super Greens and Seeds Salad to various interpretations of cabbage.
My starter of Sprouting Broccoli Salad wooed me in writing and in the flesh with its pomegranates and toasted hazelnuts, along with crisp broccoli, grains and a tahini dressing. This was simple yet artful, and totally virtuous on just about every level.
My companion opted for Buttermilk Fried Chicken with chilli mayo and crunchy slaw, a mouthful of which I approved, although the broccoli salad was seriously piled high so concentration was needed.
My main was Sea-Reared Trout on the Plancha (a flat-top griddle) with herbed freekeh, red onion, parsley, lemon and watercress salad, which looked unprepossessing on arrival, hidden as it was by watercress, but goodness it packed some flavour, and I felt incredibly superior about my low-carb intake. In truth I did sample a few (going on quite a few) of my companion’s skinny truffle pecorino fries, which were the best. He combined the fries with a British Flash Steak with truffle sauce and Roasted Hispi Cabbage with toasted almonds. The latter was honest as it comes, a big corner of cabbage, simply roasted, but with the flavours suffusing the whole.
The service was immaculate and smooth – we were very impressed by this – reaching just the right hard-to-achieve balance between solicitude and over-checking.
The dessert menu forced me over to the carb side with a Basque Cheesecake with orange crème fraiche. I have to admit I like my cheesecake soft and creamy and this was very upright and formal, so be prepared for a dessert with somebody – the Basque is baked at a high temperature, light and scorched and caramelised on the top with a rich interior. Our other dessert was the Warm Treacle Tart with crème fraiche and candied orange. I sampled a forkful and it was dreamy.
A bit like home but better? Well no, because home obviously is the best. But for an evening not at home, here is an accessible blend of comfortable and exclusive, with top notch food and vibing out spaces, and no need to plump the cushions.