With its crema catalana-coloured tiles, whirling ceiling fans and Iberico hams hanging in the window, Copita feels properly Spanish even before you clock the menu. The nicely-burnished bar and the air of not trying too hard doesn’t hurt either. Diners perch on high stools at a choice of wooden counters (tip: if you’re dining solo, try for the one in the window), then settle in to wait for what Copita does best: gently inventive and skilfully cooked tapas.
Almost everything we ate was excellent, from a simple but effective onglet with roasted shallots and chimichurri to a flavour-packed Andalusian chickpea and spinach stew. The black ink squid croquettes will ruin you for any other version, and we adored a plate of broccoli brought to life by gremolata and shaved manchego. The only misfire was a slightly undercooked tentacle and too much enthusiasm with the smoked paprika in an otherwise gutsy dish of octopus with crushed peas and sobrasada.
Desserts come paired with by-the-glass suggestions – coffee and burnt milk ice-cream with shortbread plus dolce mataro was a pretty good match, though the ice creams were slightly too subtle for the heavenly raisin taste of the sweet red wine. Drinks in general are a strength: the (Spanish) wines and sherries are all available by the glass (copita). Coffee is excellent, too: the cortado is perfection.
It’s all pretty good value given the location and the quality of the cooking, and you don’t have to order a full meal; the charming staff are happy to serve drinks and a couple of dishes. The background club won’t be to everyone’s taste, but overall, this is a terrific bolthole in the heart of Soho.