This rainy Sunday, we headed to Clerkenwell’s The Coach & Horses, which has been on our to-eat list for quite some time. Local to Franc & Darren and winning Harper’s 2010 Wine Pub of the Year, we’re surprised we haven’t been here already.
And arriving early at this wood panelled and small pub (seating 60 in the main room) we spied potential.
The closest tube stop for this pub is Farringdon, and it’s right off Clerkenwell Road. The 55 and 243 buses come right by as well.
Joining us on the Quest today on a grim and dismal rainy London Sunday are: Vera, Roland, Asami, Andy, Claire, Dom, Franc, and Darren.
Dishes Ordered: (left to right)
- Heritage tomato salad (Claire)
- Coach cured salmon with pickles (Asami)
- Duck and chestnut rilettes aka Duck in a jar (Andy, Roland and Vera sharing)
- Roast beef (all except Vera)
- Handmade salt cod fritter (Vera)
- Lemon Posset (Claire, Franc, Andy, Asami)
- Strawberry Meringue (Roland and Vera sharing)
- Buttermilk pudding and fruit (Darren)
Observations (collective and individual):
- Ugly appetisers. Maybe it was the light but the tomato salad looked terrible. So did the Salmon. Like a can of Smedley’s Mixed Veg dumped on a plate and served with a garnish of fuckall. (Darren)
- The angry Waitress changed attitude when trying to put one appetiser on the table. Her voice changing from polite yet a little angry “excuse me” to bitter and angry “excuse me.”
- It’s sharp. About her salad (Claire)
- It’s really sharp. 5 mins later about her salad (Claire)
- Cue the porn music. “My carrot is long and uncut.” (Roland)
- The food was reasonable, not amazing. (Roland)
- The food was nice but not spectacular. (Claire, who was far from Roland and his similar comment)
- A balsamic vinegar would have been a more appropriate choice for the salad (Claire)
- Claire’s beef had a huge vein of gristle.
- Cold Yorkshire pud, and very salty spuds. (Darren)
- Butter beans, samphire and salty fish balls? (Darren looking at Vera’s meal) That must have been a big fish to have balls that size.
- Beef was tender and cooked as I like it. (Claire)
- Smoked salmon was cut thickly. It reminded me of how sashimi is cut. I’m not sure if this is traditional, but I liked it. (Asami)
- The beef was nice and tender, but the potatoes were too salty and the spinach was not my cup of tea… I didn’t like the flavour. (Asami)
- Sun dried salty tomatoes, fish balls too salty. Interesting ingredients, an interesting combination, just too salty to finish. (Vera)
- Potatoes were mushy on the outside, dry inside. My spinach was cooked to death, and what was that rhubarb-looking stuff with it? (Franc)
- My yorkshire seemed cooked too quickly… mushy inside and darkened on the edges. The beef and the posset saved the day (Franc)
- Potatoes were soft on the outside and dry in the middle? Veg was cooked to death (Franc)
- For the price point, it isn’t living up to expectations.
- The whole chicken for 2 looked great. (Darren) Shame we didn’t have it.
- Dom, recovering from stomach issues, asked if they had any ice cream, even though it wasn’t on the menu. The nice waitress went to the kitchen, checked and confirmed they had homemade vanilla ice cream, which he ordered. A nice touch.
- The yorkshire was too… symmetrical. (Claire)
- Slice of lemon on top of the posset not caramelised or anything. It’s just a full on lemon. (Claire)
- Nice posset Claire. (Darren)
- The baby likes the windows (Vera)
- The staff was quick to respond to our requests (Vera)
- Little toys along the ceiling are cute (Franc)
- I’d go back, but it weirdly lacked ambiance (Claire)
- Looked neighbourly but didn’t feel it. (Franc)
- Nice but not amazing. (Claire)
- Service was nice and smiley. Referring to the nice waitress. (Asami)
- Toilets were clean. I bet they’re really chilly in winter. (Franc)
On to the Scores: (scoring based on these rules)
I am genuinely disappointed with the pub. We had a conversation with a fellow Twitterer about that exact pub and it was talked up. It supposedly won the Harper’s 2010 Wine Pub of the Year which doesn’t ring true given how bad everything else was. Some scores were skewed high because of people who were (a) famished and (b) hadn’t been to a roast for a while and didn’t have alternatives to compare against.
Would I recommend the Coach and Horses to anyone needing a pub in EC1? No. The Well, The Green, The Princess of Shoreditch,even untried local hostelries such as The Eagle would get the nod ahead of it.
I guess Franc’s final comment summed up just how great the Coach and Horses, Clerkenwell is – “toilets were clean.”