Photograph courtesy of The Coach & Horses
There's no shortage of quality pubs in Clerkenwell, with a good number of them boasting a reputation for slinging delicious hash as much as for pulling proper pints. One of the most celebrated of Clerkenwell's gastronomically oriented pubs is The Coach & Horses - and understandably so. From gorgeously scrumptious Scotch eggs to some of the best steaks to be devoured in London, this classic and lovingly restored (without being tarted up) Victorian venue with its modern British menu more than holds its own among the locals including London's “first gastropub” and nearby restaurants such as St John. In this latest of our Chefspective interviews, chef Henry Herbert chats with Londonist about what makes his pub grub so yummy.
How long have you been a chef, where'd you get your start and what inspired you to be a professional cook?
Chef for 5 years; started (while still at catering college) at the Coach, but cooked elsewhere and returned in 2009 to lead the kitchen. No inspiration really: four generations of my family before me were bakers.
I just loved eating and good food. So cooking naturally followed.
How would you describe The Coach & Horses and what sets it apart from other gastropubs?
The C & H is what the pub was always meant to be: a fine old London boozer with excellent food (all made in-house) and great wines. What sets it apart from most is the effort to make the menu and wine list as interesting as possible.
Any London restaurants or pubs (or any other foodie/drinkie places) that you recommend?
I like Hereford Road in Notting Hill very much.
So, there's a bit of a foodie buzz around town about your Scotch eggs. We've had 'em and love 'em too! What's your secret?
No secret at all - the recipe has been published in several papers/magazines. It's just that we use the best ingredients that we can.
Cooking up anything good for the next year or so?
Yes. But I don't know what yet - the seasonal produce will suggest ideas to me.
Any tips for at-home cooks or folks considering careers in the kitchen?
Practice using your taste buds (and nose) a lot; learn for yourself what flavours work well together and what don't; keep your fingers clear of sharp edges.
The Coach & Horses is located at 26-28 Ray Street (EC1R 3DJ). Visit the restaurant online at www.thecoachandhorses.com.