Wednesday, 28 October 2015


I was talking to a friend recently about how awful hotels were when you had a big family, you just can't find anything that will accommodate a family of five or more that's either decent or affordable as I had been recently searching for a London one. And it was this conversation I had in the back of my mind when we were invited as a family to check out the new Coppa Club in Sonning on the banks of the River Thames. Despite enjoying camping trips and holiday cottages we don't really stay in hotels, I think having three boys it's not something I ever consider to be that relaxing!

Upon arrival we were keen to discover our room in the neighbouring Great House, which had a large double bed, three Chesterfield sofa beds made up for the boys and a massive TV! We were all quite giddy with excitement, rushing around to marvel at the huge walk in shower, the desk with fancy swivel chair and the key card that activated the lights (it doesn't take much to impress us really does it?)

Once we had settled in (and convinced the three year old to stop spinning on the chair!) we took full advantage of being on the Thames path and went out on foot to discover the huge garden and the countryside nearby, the trees lining the river had turned the most beautiful autumnal colours and squadrons of Canada geese were flying overhead. On the river noisy ducks pestered us for bread, but soon left us alone when they realised we had nothing to offer.

After crunching through all the leaves we felt we had earned a drink and returned to discover the Coppa Club. Coppa Club is a beautifully styled open plan space with large comfortable sofas; deep red Chesterfields and teal velvet, next to open fires and with a restaurant area with huge glass fold-back doors overlooking the river. We plumped down on a rather gorgeous pair of pea green sofas and ordered hot chocolates all round, which the boys declared "were the best hot chocolates they had ever had!" High praise indeed for the rich chocolatey drink that had no gimmicky whipped cream or marshmallows on at all!

After returning to our room to dress for dinner (or maybe we just used this as an excuse to get the boys dirty clothes off them!) we returned for an evening meal. The boys were properly tired at this point, the clocks had gone back in theory at the weekend but not quite in their minds yet, but they were excited about dinner having scrutinised the menu beforehand. The restaurant part of Coppa Club is lovely with lights reminiscent of art deco and long banquet seating in a dark teal through the middle and an Italian inspired all day menu.

The children's menu is excellent with interesting and thoughtful options, and not patronising like so many kids menus usually are! My boys ordered deep fried squid for starters, which I was delighted about as they'd never tried it before and it was delicious. They then followed it up with penne carbonara, bolognese and pizza - all the dishes were delicious the bolognese in particular was outstanding and cooked properly using both pork and beef mince mixed with tagliatelle (not spaghetti) -  I only know this having seen it made properly on Saturday Kitchen this week! Three courses plus endless drinks was a very reasonable £6.95 and the food on the menu also included steak and burgers using the same quality ingredients as on the main menu. They finished with Jude's ice cream and declared they were full.

The restaurant around us had steadily filled with lots of family groups, business people having supper and courting couples, there was a lovely babble of noise against a soundtrack of trippy background tunes. My husband ordered the sea bass as he never gets fish at home (I hate cooking it) and I ordered the broad bean, pea and ricotta ravioli. The sea bass arrived filleted and stuffed with courgette ribbons, he was delighted and washed it down with some local ale, my ricotta was just delicious and I enjoyed it with the recommended South African Chenin Blanc 2014 (this bit is for those of you who know about wine, which I don't profess to!)

Gosh I've come over all a bit 'restaurant critic' - apologies!

All the staff were really lovely and so friendly so dining as a family to our relief was an absolute delight, the boys felt grown up not being anywhere overtly 'kiddy' and my husband and I felt we had discovered somewhere that could cater for us all and we didn't have to compromise on quality and surroundings for the kids - which is really quite rare thinking about it!

After a great nights sleep thanks to our full bellies we awoke early, thanks to our body clocks still being out of sync, ravenous again (why does that happen?) and keen for breakfast as the menu looked awesome. We started with a 'green goodness' fresh juice that contained cucumber, spinach, avocado and watercress which was delicious and a great way to 'offset' the food that was to follow. My husband ordered the works skillet breakfast, a traditional full english served on an iron skillet, Alfie and I had the pancake stack with bacon and maple syrup that were light and delicious and so much better than I make at home, Ted chose a croissant or two and Stanley wanted two poached eggs and soldiers (not on the menu but kindly cooked for him) although he didn't eat much, instead stealing from everyone else's plate, the urchin!

I love breakfasts and would much rather go out for breakfast or brunch than any other meal to be honest so it's great to see that Coppa Club does breakfast through the week from 6.30-11.30am and brunch at weekends from 7.30-11.30am. That combined with an all day menu and relaxed philosophy of 'we are what you want us to be,' Coppa Club will soon be the place to go, oh and did I mention that George Clooney has just bought a new pad across the river?

p.s. I'd love to hear from you if you have three or more children and find holidays difficult and if you have any hotel or self catering recommendations?

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