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The Coach & Horses, Norwich, restaurant review: ‘A perfect pub’

PUBLISHED: 17:17 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:25 19 December 2017

White bait at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily Revell

White bait at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily Revell

Archant

We visited a cosy pub off the beaten track.

Gnocchi at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily RevellGnocchi at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily Revell

Food

I love tapas, and in the cosy pub setting of The Coach & Horses it’s the perfect way to while away an evening. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was to be unable to get in. We arrived on a Friday night and could barely get in the door, so cut our losses and returned the following day. We managed to find a free table, it was very small however and definitely intended just as a table for drinks. The landlord was extremely accommodating though and brought out our food on smaller plates, removing dishes from serving platters so it would all fit.

We ordered six dishes, which was just about enough for the two. I couldn’t resist the patatas bravas because, while not particularly inventive, I think it’s one of the best tapas dishes around. This version was spot-on, with a chunky homemade tomato sauce, garlic mayo and chunks of crispy potatoes. The only downside was the sauce at the bottom had gone a little watery and made the final potatoes soggy.

Another dish that caught my eye was the sun-blushed tomato and goats’ cheese gnocchi. Not only was it a very generous portion, but the combination of cheese, tomato and caramelised red onion was beautiful. The flavours complemented one another well and it would’ve sufficed as a main.

Falafel sliders at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily RevellFalafel sliders at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily Revell

Next up was the slow-roast pork belly with crackling and plum sauce. It was lean and succulent, a great contrast to the crackling which was browned, crunchy and all-round excellent. The plate of deep-fried whitebait with lemon mayonnaise was stacked high, so high in fact we couldn’t finish it all.

A duo of falafel, hummus and tomato sliders with fries looked the part on their wooden slab and, while the falafel was a good texture, and delicately flavoured, the mini burger buns themselves were a little disappointing as the bread was quite hard and slightly stale on the bottom. The fries were lovely and made it feel more like a mini meal. The showstoppers were the sweet potato bons bons with smoked paprika mayo. These small balls of gooey sweet potato were encased in a light but crunchy breadcrumb coating and the sweet potato was pure, with no flavourings, it was instead strong and sweet naturally, and it was a reminder of just how nice sweet potato is.

Drinks

Being a pub, there’s a large selection of drinks, with a lot of interesting ales and lagers.

Patatas Bravas at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily RevellPatatas Bravas at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily Revell

Ambiance

I really liked the inside of the pub. It had a clean, modern feel while keeping the cosiness and warmth of a typical local pub.

Service

Despite being so busy the service was quick and attentive. The staff are nice and chatty, and they put customers at ease.

Sweet potato bonbons at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily RevellSweet potato bonbons at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily Revell

Loos

Nicely decorated and clean.

Parking

The Forum carpark is closest but Chapelfield or St Giles are only a short walk too.

Pork belly at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily RevellPork belly at The Coach & Horses. Photo: Emily Revell

Location

A little off the beaten track, The Coach & Horses is often thought to be a place to go when visiting The Theatre Royal but it’s worth frequenting at all times. Not far from the Forum or St Giles it’s easy to walk to from the city centre.

Price

Extremely good value. The most expensive tapas dish was £5.50 and the rest were £5 or less, which is much cheaper than a lot of other tapas places. Our six dishes came to around £26 and it was worth every penny!

Highlight

The ambiance of the pub and the gnocchi were up there.

In summary

The Coach & Horses is a great place to go for a light bite, the pub feel and value of the food makes it ideal for nipping into when you can’t make up your mind about what you want to eat.

This is an independent review.

Read more EDP food reviews.

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