Any pub that has been around since 1790 must be doing something right. Despite its estimable pedigree, the venue has just the right vibe for what I want out of a place that serves good food and ale with a much more relaxed vibe than a restaurant. Henry Harris, the man behind the current iteration of the Coach clearly knows what he is doing. His background includes stints at Bibendum and Racine and he now is involved with a number of high-end pubs around London. The interior of the Coach probably owes most to the Victorian era, but the place feels distinctly modern. We liked the floor-to-ceiling glass, a calming conservatory with ample greenery at the exterior and the judicious interspersing of modern artworks on the wood-panelled walls. Ale aficionados will relish the fact that the Coach is a free house and therefore stocks beers from a range of breweries. Finding Harvey’s Best (brewed in Lewes, Sussex) on a hand-pull in central London always works for me. Since we were a group of nine dining, The Coach accommodated us in their upstairs dining area, where there is also a dedicated private room for larger parties. The ethos behind the menu reflects Henry’s background in French bourgeois cooking, but also references the nearby proximity of Smithfield meat market. For the adventurous – myself included – there is the option of calf’s brain among the starters or rabbit as a main. Elsewhere, there are safer options such as smoked salmon and steak, while several vegetarian dishes also feature on the menu. There was some disappointment in our group that not all our first choices were available and, in some cases, neither our second choices too. Admittedly we were a largish group dining at 8pm on a weekend night, but some improved planning and/or warning from the staff would not have gone amiss. I had no complaints whatsoever about the starter. Not since Clipstone have I enjoyed brain quite so much, and the capers accompanying it served as a wonderful foil. Pasta was way down my list of choices as a main, but the venue executed the dish competently enough, even if the liberal inclusion of cream perhaps offset some of its faults. Consensus on the food overall was positive, but by no means overwhelmingly so. More plaudits for the wine list, which included some superb options, both at the £30 price point and higher. Overall, a great venue for bigger groups, which has much going for it.