- Location: Unit 3, 60 Wentworth St, London, E1 7AL (nearest tube is Aldgate East)
- Date of Visit: Thursday 24th March 2016
- Time of Table: 7.30pm
- Deal Bought From: Bookatable
- Deal Price: £22 per person
- Dinner Companion: Group of friends, seven of us in total
Getting More for your Money?
This dinner deal includes:
- Starter each
- Main course each
- Dessert each
- Gin and tonic each
- Food provided from a set menu
What I ate…
- Starter: Spanish Cured Pork, with Butternut Squash Puree
- Main: Roasted Duck Leg with Lentils, Pears and Parsnips
- Dessert: Peanut Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce
What I drank…
- Small Bombay Sapphire gin with lime and tonic
- Small Tanqueray gin with juniper berries and tonic (nicked a friend’s free drink)
- Large Bombay Sapphire gin with lime and tonic (not included)
What did we think?
What better way to escape the dreary drizzle of a damp London evening then by bursting in to classy Spanish joint Copita Del Mercado, situated mere minutes away from Aldgate East tube station at the old Petticoat Lane market. Splashed with warming hues of pale yellow and rustic terracotta, the bright and minimalist venue is a unique juxtaposition of classic Spanish styling and London modernisation – you’ll spot shining blue tiles and brickwork paired with dark leather armchair style seating and chandelier mimicking spotlights pooling a dimmed atmospheric lighting.
With high tables and bar stools signalling a bar area, with chunky rectangular tables dictating the dining area, Copita Del Mercado is renowned for bringing the sunkissed flavours of Spain right to London’s doorstep, the simplistic food menu accompanied by the most extensive gin menu I have ever seen. As a gin lover, I could resist the wonderful matches of well known gins and corresponding flavours, for example Bombay Sapphire was served with lime wedges while the Plymouth gin was dished up with orange and lemon hues. Tanqueray on the other hand worked nicely with the peppy taste of juniper berries. As part of our Bookatable deal, we could each have one small gin and tonic from the menu – these were about the size of a tumbler glass but generously filled and flavourful.
When I first spotted this deal, I couldn’t believe the value – a three course meal and a drink for a mere £22? I was more than curious to see whether the price tag impeded the experience at all or whether the food was even worth a try in the first place. Whilst enjoying my zingy and refreshing gin and tonic, I perused the set menu. The options were all completely different from the main menu, which meant that it wasn’t just a knock off version of the full price choices. I quite liked that Copita Del Mercado had gone to the effort to produce a second menu – it’s also quite a savvy way to entice diners back to try the full menu next time. There were three choices for each course, and while this doesn’t give you bundles of options, I personally had enough choice to pick from. As always, our veggie friend was restricted to the only vegetarian option for the starters and main course, but luckily these included flavours that she loved.
For my starter, I went for the traditional cured pork dish, which I thought would come up a bit like an antipasti or salami platter. However I was completely wrong – the cured pork came up more like a patty, a thicker, circular disc of orange hued cured pork, sitting amidst blood red pooled oils and juices where the meat had been cooked briefly to bring the flavours alive. The taste was sensational – rich, spicy and with incredible depth, the meat was pungent and full bodied. Served alongside this was a satisfying blob of butternut squash puree, the perfect antidote and accompaniment to the fiery salami flavours. Creamy, soft and sweet, the pale orange butternut squash presented the complete opposite to the cured pork, however it worked so well together. The portion size was also really decent for a starter so that gets bonus points from me. I loved this creative and punchy dish.
Main course was a no brainer for me – I adore duck and hardly eat it at home so when I spotted the duck leg main course, I had to order it. Although when my dinner arrived it looked a little on the small side, it was actually a lot more filling than I expected. One duck leg was the star of the show, sat plumply in the centre of the round coffee coloured plates. With plenty of succulent and juicy roasted meat attached to the bone, it was also a delight to rip into the crunchy and crispy skin. Almost like crackling, the seasoned browned skin added a lovely bite when paired with the tender dark meat of the gamey duck. So delicious and good cooking at its absolute best. The sides that came with the duck were few and far between, so it’s a good thing the duck was so amazing. The duck leg sat on top of a thin layer of grey lentils, giving a stew like feel to the meal, while two narrow slices of peeled and cooked pear gave a fresh, fruity hit – fruit works so nicely with duck and it was great to try something different from the usual orange or plum combos. The parsnips consisted of a few random cubes scattered here and there so they didn’t add massively to the dish but were nice to come across nonetheless. The meat was the winner here by far.
With an unrivalled sweet tooth, dessert was always going to be the true test for me, however Copita Del Mercado passed with flying colours thanks to their unique peanut fritters. I’ve never seen these on a dessert menu before, although I love the fruit versions you often find at Chinese restaurants. These peanut ones were just as rustic in shape, looking like crunchier and roughed up dough balls, but they were soft and doughnut like on the inside, with a fantastically strong nutty flavour. Lightly dusted in sugar for a bit of added crisp, the peanut hues worked very well with the massive pool of chocolate sauce that drenched the centre of the plate, housing a single scoop of vanilla ice cream in its middle. The chocolate sauce worked wonders with the fritters, adding a lovely gooey element with a rich, dark chocolate vibe. This also complimented the vanilla ice cream, lightening up the potentially other heavy ingredients. The mix of flavours and textures here was spot on and I really enjoyed this tasty dessert.
All in all, I would say that Copita Del Mercado is a great little venue. It may be snuggled down a side street however it shouldn’t be skipped. Their dishes boast good, wholesome ingredients and simple flavours that are executed well and creatively put together. This winning combination makes for a mouth watering menu and that’s without even considering the speciality gin element. With the larger portions served in classic fish bowl style glasses, the variety on offer is staggering and the attention to detail with regards to flavour is second to none. A great place to inject your mealtime with summer sunshine and vaguely tipsy laughter.