Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t just go to restaurants, eat, and bosh out a few words. We go to restaurants, bosh out some words, and then go back again a bit later. It’s called due diligence people. Look it up. The point is we check back in on places. Especially ones that we’ve rated quite highly.
The first time we ate at The Coach, it was brilliant. 8.5 brilliant. Delicious French bistro food in a pub environment. We had perhaps the best chips in London. A plate of gnocchi that went back to the kitchen gleaming. A garlic soup that was actually chuggable. But then we started hearing whispers. So we went back. Then we went back again. And, unfortunately, our worst fears have been realised. Because this coach has fallen off a cliff on the way to Calais.
We’re not entirely sure of what’s gone wrong at The Coach. But we hazard a guess that the designated driver has changed. Because what was once simple and delicious bistro food has become very average bistro food. A plate of confit duck leg and potatoes is so salty it’s virtually inedible. And we’ll eat pretty much anything. The same goes for the onglet steak. It’s the most joyless, immovable, lump of meat since your hungover arse last hit the sofa. Order it if your jaw has nothing on. Unfortunately ours had things to do. People to talk to. It’s a plate of food that, like every exercise we’ve ever done, involves a lot of effort for nothing whatsoever.
Not everything here is bad. It’s just not that good. When you’re paying £10 for a squid starter, or twenty quid for a tartare, you want to remember it. But unfortunately your memories at this pub become like any other on a Friday night. A little indistinct and a little expensive. The worst thing about it is that The Coach was really quite good. The chips, for example, were almost perfect. Beings sent from a galaxy far, far away that were the size of your hand. Now they’re different things entirely, and it’s a disappointment akin to George Lucas showing up, picking up a peeler, and manning the fat fryer.
The room itself - particularly the downstairs dining conservatory - is still lovely, but unfortunately the food no longer matches it. This is definitely a place we’d recommend for a drink but if you’re looking to drop thirty-odd quid on a meal, we can think of better places and pubs to do it in.
photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
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Cocktail Prawns, Devilled Crab, And Seabream Tartare With Soda Bread
The devilled crab is sort of something - in a creamy and curried way - but the whole thing is like being sent a text about someone else’s starter, rather than eating it yourself.
Grilled Squid With Harissa And Lime Creme Fraiche
This is fine. The charred squid is tasty enough but the rest isn’t doing much.
Duck Heart, Duck Fat Toast, Lardo
Aside from its tendency to develop a not-so-sexy gravy skin, this was actually very rich and very tasty.
When we first ate tartare here is was excellent. This one was £19 badly spent.
Duck Confit With Confit Potatoes
You may think we’re being salty but this was so salty it made us write a salty re-review.
Oxtail, Bacon, And Mushroom Pie
Pies are a surefire way to make us (and a lot of people) happy. This one made us a bit sad.
Ravioli De Royans
Not necessarily untasty, but might send you into a buttery coma.
Onglet And Chips
Sticky Toffee Pudding
A decent sticky toffee but it’s nothing to write home about.