When things looked grim for Coppa in 2020, owners Tom Sanceau and Bonnie Shearston decided not to renew its Creek street lease. The pandemic had cleared the city streets, and pair’s fast-food inspired laneway bar Red Hook was also feeling the squeeze.
With no plans to reboot, a twist of fate in the form of property developer Dexus saw Sanceau and Shearston’s Italian restaurant reborn on the Eagle Street pier as Coppa Spuntino, in an airy tenancy that used to be home to another celebrated Italian restaurant, Il Centro.
Architect Adam Laming worked with Sanceau and Shearston to create a beautiful Amalfi-inspired venue that maximises its stunning river views. Gone are Il Centro’s table cloths, private dining room and fine dining accoutrements, replaced by tiles and timber, white rendered walls and bar areas, and rattan lights. In the middle of the floor, rows of four tops have been subbed out for a set of spacious booths and a pair of enormous communal tables.
Chef Vinny Clist’s snack-focused menu will feel familiar to Coppa regulars. The burrata, pork and veal meatballs, and pork and beef pappardelle make an appearance, as does Coppa’s immensely popular gnocchi with kale and walnuts. For mains, you might see roasted porchetta with rocket and apple, and a bistecca alla fiorentina designed to share. One notable absence is a pizza menu, but there are more pasta dishes in its place.
For drinks, a slushy machine spins frozen prosecco and a frozen Negroni. Otherwise, it’s a focus on Italian wines and styles, and local drops made using low intervention, biodynamic and organic techniques. There’s a huge range by the glass to encourage punters to drop in for a vino and a snack.