Outside the original Orient-red tiles have been uncovered, now complemented by a classy black paint job, hanging baskets and signage painted by local go-to signwriter Mia Warner featuring the Coach’s new logo which celebrates the pub’s 155-year history.
Inside the space is divided into two distinct areas. The front room is dominated by a showstopper of a wooden horseshoe bar surrounded by creamy bar tiles and a solid wooden floor. Dark wooden shelving holds numerous interesting-looking bottles (special shout out to O’Donnell Moonshine!), while etched glass and gorgeous wall and pendant lights add to the back-in-the-day vibe. There’s plenty of seating at booths and vintage tables and chairs.
The dining room at the back of the pub has a small second bar and seating options are a mixture of booths, more vintage tables and chairs and a raised area bookended by two curved corner sofas. Pale green and exposed brick walls happily coexist and are hung with a mixture of photographs of old Leyton and new Hooksmith letterpress pieces. Ceiling roses and chandeliers add class and cosiness.
Outside there’s a suntrap of a beer garden with a mixture of picnic tables and mismatched tables and chairs, for a village fete kind of vibe. By night outdoor bulbs give it a magical feel.Local chef Steve Wilson, formerly of Hix Oyster and Chop House, is in charge in the kitchen. Food is served seven days a week and is a modern take on classic British fare, with elevated extras and on-trend twists. Options range from snacks such as sausage rolls and scotch eggs, casual dishes such as club sandwiches and hearty plates like wild mushroom lasagne and bangers and mash. Most days there’s something special going on with the food. Tuesday is pie and a pint night. On Wednesdays there’s a Blues-inspired menu to go with the live music. Thursday is steak night, with fish steak and cauliflower steak options for those who don’t do meat. On Saturdays there’s an egg-heavy brunch menu, while Sundays are for roasts. My most recent visit was for a cheeky Friday lunch, with my sister and 18-month-old nephew in tow. She started with Cornish crab on toast – a slice of toasted white from The Bread Station piled high with white meat mixed in a mayonnaise made from brown meat and studded with crispy capers. “Perfectly balanced,” she swooned. I had the tempura broccoli, a yummy taste-and-texture mash up of a dish featuring delicately battered spears of tenderstem broccoli on a pool of seed-sprinkled yoghurt, with a generous helping of kimchi.
“Flaky perfection and just the right amount of batter,” said my sister of the generous portion of cod in her main (see main pic, above). Crispy chips and pots of tartare sauce and mushy peas, both made in-house, played strong supporting roles. The peas divided us. “Could have been chunkier,” thought my sister. Just right, IMO. Meanwhile I had the Coach’s beaut of a vegan burger which consisted of a patty made of heritage beetroots, chickpeas, cumin and coriander, with mushroom ketchup and tomato chutney (both made in house), sandwiched in a soft roll and served with a pot of chunky chips.
To drink local breweries and liquor companies are well represented with Signature Brew, Neckstamper, Walthamstow Beer and East London Brewing Company all on tap, and East London Liquor Company, Mother’s Ruin and Butler’s Gin behind the bar, plus there’s a good selection of wines by the glass. We washed our meal down with a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Well it was Friday. With no room for pudding we finished off our meal with coffees made with beans from local roaster Curved Brick Co.
It’s worth noting that there’s a 2-for-1 cocktail deal on Fridays until 8pm: whether you want to extend a Friday lunch into the evening, take the edge off a Central Line commute and/or welcome the weekend. Cheers to that.