Since its opening a few years ago, Coupette's been one of those curious things: a bar that feels more suited to patrons in its locale than international tourists, but one that's nonetheless talked about as one of the best cocktail bars in the world. Now, under the stewardship of bar manager Andrei Marcu, it's back with a new menu of occasionally out-there but always delicious drinks.
What's the story?
Coupette is located in the middle of an undeniable hotspot for drinking and dining. A stone's throw from Paradise Row in Bethnal Green – where you'll find the still excellent Sager + Wilde and a huge Mother Kelly's taproom – it's also just down the road from the industry-favourite Satan's Whiskers. But Coupette is its own bar, and it's one with a huge amount to love.
A long bar decorated with Franc coins leads to a cosy lounge area, so both bar and The founding ethos of French and grape- and apple-based drinks (wine, cidre, calvados and liqueurs) remains – as does the modern classic Champagne Piña Colada (a frozen piña colada made with Moët in place of rum) – but new menu Urban Legends & Their Uprising Tales also throws in some surprising additions.
Parmiggiano-Reggiano and olive oil in your manhattan? Oh yes...
What to drink?
Coupette isn't concept-first, and even the most eyebrow-raising cocktails are underpinned by a tangible appetite for making things delicious. The French Toast is shaken, daiquiri-style, and unadorned with raspberry coulis on the palate and the addition of cassis for more sweetness and a bit of boozy bite. Board Room – a long-time favourite made with Hennessy, Mr Blacks Walnut and Cherry Heering is all brown sugar on the nose, with a softened cognac hit backed up by a punch of Dubonnet on the finish.
There's a new long drink to rival the Champagne Piña Colada in the Melon Watermelon Spritz, made with Bombay Sapphire and a watermelon consommé and topped with Moët. But the most intriguing drink on the menu is the It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy, a Maker's Mark 46 manhattan punched up with clarified olive oil, mead and a dash of resinous raisin and topped with a parmesan tweel, sweet and honeyed but with a sinewy quality that sets it apart from a classic cocktail.
What to eat?
There's a new roster of bar snacks available, and they repeat the French twist: croquettes made with squid and cuttlefish; cheese and charcuterie platters; and even a couple of sweet and savoury crèpes, if you're so inclined.
Will it bankrupt me?
Absolutely not. Pleasingly, prices here are as approachable as ever at around £10 for a cocktail – a snip for a venue that can legitimately call itself one of the very best in the capital.
423 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN; coupette.co.uk