It has been several days since my partner and I visited the Coach and Horses, in Arundel Road, Clapham, for a spot of pub grub – and we’re still full to bursting.
With an inviting open fire and cosy atmosphere, we were welcomed by jolly landlord Nick Grantham-Hill and briefed on the pub’s unique mix of homemade pub classics and South African dishes. The latter – an unusual find in a Clapham waterhole – originates from Nick’s partner, Beryl’s heritage.
Feeling it would be rude not to sample one of these specialities, I ordered boerewors to start – African sausage in a tomato sauce, served with salad and a polenta cake (£5.50), while my partner played it safer with grilled field mushrooms (£5.50).
Both were a delight. Boerewors, as I found, were extremely meaty, mostly beef sausages, grilled to perfection, in a rustic tomato accompaniment. The field mushrooms were lost in a generous pile of cranberries and brie, providing a hearty and filling starter.
For mains, I was swayed by Nick’s sales pitch of a homemade beef burger (£9.95) and my partner went for the rump steak (£13.95) – both with chips, and both meals classics, but both easy to get lost in a sea of mediocrity.
But Beryl and Nick need not worry. There was nothing mediocre about either.
My burger was one of the thickest I had ever seen, presented in a Leaning Tower of Pisa-style bun, packed full of cheese, onion rings and mushroom.
So full was the toasted bun, that a long stick struggled to keep everything held together. It was almost like a Man vs Food challenge.
And it tasted exquisite, too, with the locally-sourced beef the star of the show.
My partner’s steak was equally filling, with the melt in your mouth steak served with a creamy blue cheese sauce, and a mountain of chips.
Defeated, we still saved a small gap for pudding, deciding to share profiteroles (£4.95), in a warm fudge sauce.
Although this threatened to be sickly and overwhelming, to our pleasure, the creamy, crisp profiteroles were a perfect end to our meal, and highly recommended.
If you are looking for a hearty meal with a bit of uniqueness, look no further than the Coach and Horses – but make sure you go with an empty stomach.