27 Barnes High Street, London, SW13 9LW www.coachandhorsesbarnes.co.uk

Chloe overloads on her starters but finds the refurbed Coach And Horses is doing pub grub for the masses well and only needs a few tweaks to do better.

The Coach and Horses has had a bit of a spring refresh – enter through the front door to find a classic pub that looks like a good local, but step through the side door and you’ll discover a huge garden with sheltered booth seating and wrought iron tables that give way to garden benches and a massive grassy space.

What’s even better is the garden is not only family friendly, but dog friendly too, meaning you get a nice mix of patrons.

We started the evening with one of the Coach and Horses’ sharing boards which we thought would be roughly equivalent to two starters but, in hindsight, would probably have been enough. However, it was worth every mouthful. The squid, which in so many pubs is often over cooked and a tad rubbery, was cooked wonderfully and not over-battered.

This was accompanied by little cubes of salmon tartar, and a mac and cheese scotch egg with smoked haddock that was a little bit indulgent. The haddock  flavour didn’t quite come through as strongly as I first expected, however this possibly wasn’t a bad thing as it could have been a step-too-far.

The absolute revelation of the board were the crab fries – fries topped with crab meat topped with melted cheese. I’ll be disappointed the next time I have fries and they don’t come like this.

As we didn’t discover our blunder with the size of the sharing board until it was too late, next came the mains. After the joy of the sharing board, they were a little disappointing, but perfectly adequate pub grub dishes.

The Angus sirloin steak was cooked well and had nice caramelisation on the outside. The tarragon butter had a good flavour to it and came out pre-melted on the steak – always a plus as there is nothing worse than receiving a cold lump of butter and having to wait for it to melt on your cooling dinner. The portion of fries that came alongside it was enormous. We certainly weren’t going to leave hungry.

The cheeseburger, again, was fine. The patty itself was a little overcooked so you ended up with a slightly burnt edge and dry meat, and the cheese was nothing to write home about. However, when combined with the burger sauce, salad and pickles resulted in a perfectly pleasant meal. The burger, again, came with a mammoth portion of fries – I’d love to see how many they get through in week.

Needless to say, by this point we were far too full for dessert. However, I can recommend the gin and tonics at the Coach and Horses, as they come with a generous glug of gin, in one of the large bowl-shaped glasses that seem to be very popular these days.  

I enjoyed my evening at the Coach and Horses – a lovely garden which is great when the sun is shining and some good food. Would I rush back, probably not, but if I fancied an evening in a good beer garden near the river, I’d definitely stroll back.