As the days are getting shorter, the hunt is on for the cosiest and comfiest restaurant in the city. With the festive season fast approaching and Christmas menus to look forward to, the city is in the spirit of enjoying good food on a brisk winter’s evening. Just a short walk through the winding lanes in the centre of the city is newly-opened restaurant, Coppa Club. Launched in Brighton Square this September, this site makes up the sixth venue in the Coppa Club series, with restaurants across London and the surrounding counties.

This venue is certainly not short of space. You have the choice of lounge seating, tables, and alfresco dining by the fountain with heaters and plush sofas. Known for its vibrant and calming decor, the restaurant is modern with colourful interiors. This makes it a quiet spot in central Brighton great for working or hosting a meeting in the daytime on weekdays, promising “no-one outstays their welcome”.

We choose a comfortable booth at the back of the restaurant and consult their lengthy drinks list. The waiters and bar staff at Coppa Club are incredibly attentive and friendly, as we carefully scan the menu. Lots of their cocktails are new to me. I go for a Sicilian 75, which is prosecco-based with lovely notes of lemon and peach (£7.95).

Their Raspberry Julep uses a local gin, Chambord and fresh raspberries (£8.95). Both are wonderfully refreshing. Their menu focuses on uncomplicated dishes from the grill, such as burgers and steaks, alongside Italian classics including pastas, sourdough pizzas and salads. If you fancy just drinks and sharing foods, their list of small plates and nibbles will provide you

with a luxurious snack. Stand out dishes include crispy fried truffle gnocchi (£3.50) and smoked haddock arancini (£6.95). Coppa Club also has an extensive list of dishes suitable for a gluten-free diet, with vegan options also available.

To start, we share buffalo mozzarella and roasted butternut squash from the small plates menu (£6.95). This is a simplistic dish but with a big punch of flavour from the garlic, chilli and sage. My friend chooses another Italianinspired dish as her main, gluten-free fusilli arabbiatta, made to order (£5.95/£10.95). The waiter kindly checks if my friend is vegetarian before he offers authentic grated Parmesan. She is not, and coats her fresh pasta in a dusting of the Italian hard cheese. The spicy tomato sauce is flavoured with fresh chillies, Pecorino and a fiery oil. I select roasted leek and feta tart, which arrives resembling a miniature quiche. The lightness of the tart is paired well with the lemon and olive oil dressing on the green side salad, and the walnuts add a bit of texture to each mouthful. I would recommend accompanying this with a side if you’re feeling ambitious. We also order skinny fries lightly coated in truffle oil and Pecorino (£4.95). Often an overpowering flavour, the truffle is subtle and does not dominate the meal.

Finding strength for dessert, we share a chocolate rippled pavlova with whipped crème fraiche, salted nut crunch and a hot chocolate sauce. Traditionally served with fruit, the slightly salty nut crunch cuts through the richness of the chocolate and the sweet meringue. This indulgent dessert is quite large and great for sharing, and a great way to conclude your evening. Coppa Club Brighton is now accepting reservations for the festive season, with their new Christmas menu available to view online now. This includes two courses and nibbles £25.95 or three course and nibbles £29.95 – available from 26 November – 31 December. To book email reservations@variouseateries.co.uk.

Coppa Club is open seven days a week. 12-16 Brighton Square, Brighton BN1 1HD. Tel 01273 900731

www.coppaclub.co.uk/brighton