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the Coach and Horses, clerkenwell (gastropub) [London]

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the Coach and Horses, clerkenwell (gastropub) [London]

goreystory | Oct 16, 2009 10:13 AM

last night post-theatre, went to the Coach and Horses off farringdon road in clerkenwell -- just down the road from The Eagle, purportedly the 'original' gastropub -- and had quite a lot of very tasty food! all presented quickly and in an attractive, easy manner, born of confidence. in order of appearance!....

[from the bar menu]

duck hearts -- six hearts at a pop, each a bit bigger than a chicken heart (and smaller than a ping-pong ball), piled in a ramekin with a cocktail toothpick for stabbing. briefly seared 'til flaming pink in the center, and lightly seasoned. they had a nice, concentrated-ducky flavour and were just chewy enough; compared favourably to the only other duck heart preparation i've had (chargrilled as yakitori).

herring roes on toast -- a slice of crusty bread (very nice) covered in lovely great curls of soft, golden roe, garnished with lots of big capers. though retaining that distinctive, grainy texture, the roe is creamy and delicious, almost buttery. not at all salty, which is where the capers come in.

[starters]

trotters on toast -- a few pieces of trotter, lightly breaded and fried until crisp/greaseless, retained the singular mix of deep flavour and gelatinous texture that makes trotter such a compelling thing to eat. the toast it rode out on was blanketed in sweet, stew-y chopped onions, tiny capers, and a few scarce bites of tender braised trotter. a nice showcase for this multifaceted meat, 'tho the portion of trotter itself was a little too light.

pigeon wellington -- four slices of a squat pigeon pie, sliced about a half-inch thick. the meat was beautifully handled, its flavour rich and not intensely gamey (somewhat reminiscent of liver), with a thin mushroom stuffing. the crus was more a standard pastry shell than a puffy wellington, but fine. some celeriac remoulade and delicate watercress were intelligent garnishes, adding crunch and bitterness.

[the triumphant main]

leg of venison w/ faggot, sweet potato mash and braised red cabbage -- five perfect slices of early-season venison. the meat is mild and wonderfully tender, leaping to life against the rich, straightforward pan sauce covering the plate. the braised pork-bits in the faggot (kind of a cross between sausage and haggis) are juicy and irresistible. the bundle's thin, trembly skin bursts appealingly when pierced with a fork. this was an excellent dish; the swift advance of christmas might not be such a bad thing!

[dessert]

buttermilk pudding with roasted figs -- solid with bold vanilla flavour (courtesy of real vanilla pods), tho the wine concentrated in the figs was quite strong and a bit distracting.

a very good experience overall! the kitchen shows really impressive knowledge of the dishes it serves, and the maturity to let top-quality seasonal ingredients do most of their own work. i would go back anytime.

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