The Coach & Horses (Soho, London)

I've known about The Coach & Horses since it opened a couple of years ago, but was put off trying by crappy reviews.

Having visited a couple of times recently I can definitely see where they're coming from - whilst it's great to see an all vegetarian pub in London with oodles of character, the quality of food could be better.

The dining room is above the pub - you have to ask downstairs whether there's space, then ascend a staircase behind the bar. It's all a bit rough around the edges, but in a charming sort of way. The pub itself serves non-vegetarian drinks and is rammed most evenings. The dining room's a bit more relaxed and oozes character - high ceilings, curved wall, open fireplace, bare floorboards etc. Mostly candle lit too, so I apologise for the quality of the photos!

They seem to have a good clientele - foreign tourists during the afternoon for 'afternoon tea' (which looks good but bought in) and the usual vegetarian restaurant sort of folk in the evening.

On my first visit I had their infamous tofuish and chips - the second a burger.

Where else can you get vegan fish and chips with a pint of cider? (no where that I'm aware of). First impressions very good - shame the peas aren't mushed with mint, but it's the Coach and Horses not Mildreds.

On closer inspection however, the chips were crap (bought in, poor quality potatoes, not well cooked) and the tofu unpleasantly fishy tasting. I've had tofu fish elsewhere that's been battered tofu with a hint of nori, but this was a full on fishy taste that was more of an endurance than pleasure to eat (I must confess I that failed to eat it all).

Dessert was carrot cake, which tasted a lot better. Dense and not enough frosting, but a reasonable effort (without wanting to spoil the rest of this post it's the best thing I've eaten there).

The second time I visited I went for their burger. Same crap chips but a decent enough looking bun.

Ever the eagle eyed vegan that I am I checked that they'd not included hallumi, which of course they had:

Yuck! I'm glad I check these things..... Having waited for another meal to be made I was more concerned about missing my train than eating dinner, so skipped the free dessert they offered me. Mistakes happen and I appreciated the gesture.

The burger itself wasn't that great. Having blogged 2 excellent burgers today I know I'm not just being picky. It was mediocre at best - like the tofuish I left half.

To summarize: I like everything about The Coach and Horses, except for the food. As a restaurant above a non-vegan pub (there are better places to drink in the area) that doesn't make for a compelling reason to revisit. I'll give it another go in a year or two - hopefully they up their game in the meantime. Until then however there are better places to eat within a short walk.


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