Recently there has been a debate raging in the UK over the current obsession with supper clubs. As this article rightly points out the idea originally came from keen amateurs who wanted to have a go at playing restaurant for the night but are now under threat from professional chefs wanting to build some buzz for a new restaurant or just make a quick buck with extortional prices.
There is a very similar situation going on here in BA where closed restaurants are everywhere you look. I know that I have talked about it before on this blog but they really are very popular at the moment in BA, (and Palermo in particular). The Argies and ex pats have a real obsession with the perceived exclusivity that a closed door restaurant possesses. The beginnings of this trend were very similar to those in England, enthusiastic cooks who wanted to cook for people but didn’t want to go all the way to opening up a restaurant. This trend is now moving more towards over priced and shishi restaurants and bars that all need a secret knock or password to get in to.
That said there are of course a few that still stand out, whatever I said about Sunae it is still one of the originals and at least stays close to it’s roots. Casa Coupage is a slightly different animal in that it used to be a closed door supper club but has now moved locations and is now a restaurant that tries to retain the feel of a supper club.
I had read a bit about Casa Coupage but there wasn’t too much online, so I was curious to see what it would be like. After finding the correct closed door to knock on we were welcomed into a beautiful patio that had two dining rooms adjoining it. We were kindly offered a glass of rose champagne that was a mix of chardonnay and pinot noir and was about delicious. This is the first thing to say about Casa Coupage, it has an amazing array of wines to choose from and the Maitre’d said the wine list had been a real labour of love. All the wine we drank that night was delicious, in particular an amazing pinot noir, which was the best I’ve had in BA by a long way.
Once we’d sat down to eat we were presented with the menu, which changes seasonally. I was tempted by the tasting menu, which you can have accompanied by wine but I was talked out if it by my girlfriend, this turned out to be a sensible idea.
After a small amuse bouche of gazpacho, which we all agreed was a little salty but fine, the starters arrived. My girlfriend and I both went for the calamari, which came on a bed of raddichio with a special ketchup and mayo. We both thought this was very tasty, I hadn’t had calamari for ages and they were cooked perfectly with a light batter and lots of flavour. Our two friends both went for the shrimp with wasabi foam which they said was very good although they disagreed on the whether they enjoyed the foam.
Next up for the mains, I again ordered the same as my girlfriend (we are very boring), which was a tasting of rabbit cooked 3 ways. I really enjoyed this dish, although my girlfriend complained that it was cold and too salty. I countered that it was meant to come cold and I liked the salty flavour of the rabbit but she was unconvinced. Our companions went for the beef and white fish. A little annoyingly the waiter had got the order wrong and the white fish was a little late arriving but they kindly compensated for this by offering a few glasses of chardonnay in compensation. Her other complaint was that when the white fish arrived it turned out to be white salmon which she would have liked to have know before hand although she said it was quite tasty but not here favourite fish. The veal came with some delicious cous cous and red peppers and was very good indeed.
Casa Coupage is definitely up there in terms of price, especially if you want to go for the nicer wines that they have (but they are definitely worth it) and the food is very good and presented beautifully. Although now a restaurant I thought Casa Coupage did well to retain a homely feel about it and the guys that run are all very interesting people who clearly take a lot of care in what they do. Although it is a “puerta cerrada” I still have time for Casa Coupage and I will be back again.