Since my stepdaughters have moved to Brighton, my wife and I had a few enjoyable trips down to visit them. The weather on the south coast is typically less grim than up north and it’s been great to check out new places to eat – meals at places such as 64 Degrees, Chili Pickle and Silo have been fab. Heading south has also enabled us to visit Michelin starred places such as The Sportsman and The Pass where I’ve wanted to eat at for ages!
The downside of visiting these places is invariably the travel. We’ve had a few lucky runs down but have also been caught by traffic jams and road closures – on one run we’d set off about 9pm but due to a section of the M6 being closed and then the same on the M54, on which we’d been diverted, we didn’t make it back home until gone 2am.
On our last trip, with the M25 at standstill and both needing a toilet break and something to eat we had two options as I saw it. Option A – keep crawling along the M25 at snail’s pace until we found a drab motorway service station with filthy loos and greasy food or, Option B – come off at the M40, head to Marlow and see if we can get in at Tom Kerridge’s “other pub”, The Coach. Guess which one we went for…
Bursting, I dropped my wife off at the door of The Coach while I went to find somewhere to park. Relieved, she soon fired off a text to me saying she was sat in their ‘holding pen’ with a glass of champagne and that we’d have a table in about 30 mins. Result!
No reservations, sat at a counter style bar, with a menu of small plates and slightly larger dishes, The Coach reminded me of a pub version of Barrafina. I approved!
So it seems to Michelin who recently awarded it a Bib Gourmand “Tom Kerridge's second pub offers a casual modern approach to dining. There are no starters or main courses, just flavoursome 'Meat' and 'No Meat' dishes that arrive as they're ready and are designed for sharing. Rotisserie dishes are a speciality.”
All dishes ordered were a delight – my only quibbles being the “deconstructed” piccalilli with the pig’s head in lieu of a “proper piccalilli” and the rye cracker with the tartare, which I found too rigid. The trice cooked chips were, of course, excellent; although I’d have made use of more of the delicious béarnaise. The surprise favourite of the dishes ordered was the celeriac, which came delightfully festooned with mustard seeds and a well judged use of honey.
It was certainly the best place we’ve stopped for a wee and a bite to eat.
Crispy Pig’s Head with Piccalilli
Mushroom “Risotto” Claude Bosi
Buttered Hispi Cabbage
The Coach Chips with Béarnaise
Steak Tartare with Fried Quail Egg & Rye Cracker
Chicken Kiev with Cauliflower Cheese
Rotisserie Celeriac with Honey & Mustard Seed Glaze
Banana Custard with Dates & Honeycomb
Lemon Tart with Raspberry Sorbet