“Down to earth and phenomenal food,” says one fan of the Michelin-starred Coach – well, what else would you expect from Tom Kerridge, whose down-to-earth personality has made him one of Britain’s favourite chefs?
In stark contrast to the nearby Hand and Flowers, Kerridge’s second Marlow pub conversion is an eminently user-friendly, no-bookings all-day boozer-cum-eatery with a terrific atmosphere and capable staff. While you can expect to book a year ahead for a table at The Hand and Flowers, here you can walk in on the day you want to eat. No wonder some readers say they “prefer the one-star place to the two-star one” – and not only because The Coach serves “the best chips ever – served with béarnaise!”
This compact, cosy pub puts the bar centre stage, with comfy leather banquettes, music playing and major sporting events shown on TVs. There’s bags of foodie appeal too, from breakfast right through to dinner. Breakfast ‘hotdogs’, kippers, kedgeree and a full English do the business first thing in the morning, though if you’ve never had a Staffordshire oatcake with bacon and cheese, you’re in for a treat.
The full menu, meanwhile, offers ‘small plates’ with the option of ‘meat’ or ‘no meat’. Choose the former and you’re in the world of the rotisserie, with competition from the likes of the Coach burger or venison chilli with red wine, chocolate and toasted rice cream; choose the latter and you could have Caesar salad, moules marinière or fish fritters with tartare sauce. For ‘sweet’, check out the gypsy tart with Old English spice and blackberry sorbet.
Grazing plates, cakes and nibbles fill in the daytime gaps, alongside pints of ale and a concise list of quaffable wines by the glass. All in all, this is “food at its best”.