Are you stuck in a rotation between campus and Canterbury? If you want a new place to eat some outstanding food, then why not visit the Old Coach and Horses pub in Harbledown.
This restaurant has always caught my eye when passing by. The building sits on a quaint country road, inviting customers in with its beautiful shrubbery and historic brickwork. So, when my Dad came to visit, I took it as an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity.
Visiting for a Sunday lunch, we expected it to be overflowing with customers. Rather, there were a handful of people enjoying themselves, eating and chatting beside the hum of 80’s music. It dawned on me then that this pub could be a hidden gem.
The décor is exactly what you would expect from a country pub; wooden tables and chairs dotted around the room, each decorated with a single rose and a vase. There was art varying from abstract paintings to landscape photographs, hung on the walls complementing the neutral colour of the interior.
Throughout our time at The Old Coach and Horses, we couldn’t fault their service. From beginning to end the staff had a smile on their face and a joyful presence about them—creating an immediate feeling of ease. Their service was prompt. Within moments of our arrival, they sat us at our table and handed us the menu, informing us that they would return in five minutes to take our order.
We decided not to order a starter (to save room for dessert, of course) and went straight for the main course. Both my dad and I ordered the same meal: Roasted Sirloin Beef with goose fat roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, and gravy. After our order, I noticed that we were not given the option to choose how our beef was cooked. This was the only fault I found with our dining experience, but it did not have an impact.
The beef was cooked flawlessly. It was perfectly pink and succulent. My dad, however, was less than pleased, as he prefers his beef ‘well-done’. Our waiter sprang into action after noticing that my dad didn’t touch his meal. He spoke to the chef, and moments later a fresh serving of beef was placed in front of him, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
The rest of the meal was impeccable. The Yorkshire pudding was sufficiently large, and the vegetables were fresh and bursting with flavour. The roast potatoes were the star of the show. They had a crispy golden glaze, complementing the softness of the potato. I don’t think I’ll ever have another dish like it; I will definitely be returning, solely for them.
Finally, dessert. There was an extensive amount of choices, ranging from a cheeseboard with fruit and chutney to a chocolate and raspberry roulade with raspberry sorbet. Every option was enticing. I chose the lemon cheesecake, and my dad chose the summer-fruit crumble (with locally-sourced berries) and vanilla ice cream. We were pleased with our decision. The cheesecake was light, delicate and flavoursome, the lemon beautifully subtle. But the speed in which my dad ate his desert said it all. Ten seconds after he received it, the crumble was gone. He thought it was ‘the best dessert he had ever had’.
If you are interested in a secret haven, hidden in the outskirts of our City, then look no further. As long as you’ve got money to spend (or someone willing to pay), you will not be disappointed… the Coach and Horses Pub is the place to eat.