Where NOT to have a Sunday Roast in Brighton – The Coach House (a review)

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If you’ve been reading my blog a while now, you’ll know I’m a lover of the Sunday Roast. I can often be found trying various different pubs in Brighton on a quest to find the best of the best of roasts and have been merrily Instagramming my Yorkshires all around Brighton for the past couple of years. However today I’m bringing you a slightly different post from my usual ‘upbeat’ style, and I apologise for this. It’s not usually in my style to give ‘bad reviews‘, when I’m reviewing a restaurant I still try to see the positives even if I didn’t have the best experience and I try to write subjectively where I can, however this time I just can’t. This needs to be said, so if you are looking at where NOT to go for a roast in Brighton, read on.

This weekend, we visited The Coach House on Middle Street, Brighton. Set right in the heart of the city, The Coach House is in the perfect location for a pit-stop Sunday lunch whilst doing the Christmas shopping or afterwork drinks alike. We visited with friends and all immediately fell in love with the decoration of the place. The pub itself is GORGEOUS, especially the way they have decorated for Christmas – It’s so festive and beautiful. We sat down, ordered a bottle of wine and got chatting. We were off to a good start!

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Being Sunday, we all ordered a roast and for me the first surprise was that they DON’T offer a vegetarian roast. That is really strange seeing as they are right in the centre of Brighton (the vegetarian capital of the UK!) However, they told me they would be able to create me a roast from the vegetables and they offered to pop it with some goats cheese which sounded nice, so I went with that. I then asked about gravy and they didn’t offer a vegetarian gravy either (bad times for a roast….!) However, as the only veggie of the group I didn’t want to make a fuss so I just went along with it.

Dinner arrived for both myself and my meat-eating friends. On first impressions, the portion sizes are MASSIVE, they really do go all out on the roasts. We all started to tuck into our dinners and after a couple of minutes all decided the same thing – upon tasting the food both myself and the meat-eaters were all left disappointed as it was just mass-produced, watery and lacking flavour all round. Not what we had expected at all from such a lovely place. My vegetarian meal was also very dry and tasteless as you can see below.

The coach house Brighton

The Vegetarian Option

So, things were not looking good and this was before the SHEER HORROR MOMENT. I chewed a mouthful of food (what I believed to be slightly burned potato) and it was PORK… in my vegetarian dish, and I had put it in my mouth and chewed. I actually couldn’t believe it. I won’t share the details, but it was promptly spat out and I immediately pushed my plate away, I couldn’t face another mouthful as I felt truly sick to my core.

I’ve been vegetarian for over 20 years now and would classify myself as a strict vegetarian – if my food has even touched meat, I wouldn’t eat it. I also don’t cook with meat (for other people) or touch it as it literally freaks me out. I have been like this since childhood, so thats just me and how I’ll always be. I’ve been vegetarian so long I don’t actually know what meat tastes like and having meat ‘hidden’ within my vegetarian dish is a really big deal to me, both morally and as I’m thoroughly disgusted by it. Plus I’m sure there are rules and regulations about keeping meat and vegetables separate in a kitchen, so ‘vegetarian-freak-out’ aside, I can’t help but wonder about of the state of the kitchens too.
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The Beef Option – my friends plate

I’m so upset and horrified that this could happen and so little care was taken to create a meal, especially after we went through such a palava to order the ‘Vegetarian Roast’ in the first place and I carefully explained my requirements. The Coach House is on the higher end of the scale price-wise so we really expected better.

Obviously, we complained about the error and I had my dinner replaced with a fresh plate. The waitress did apologise, although I felt they didn’t really accept the horror something like this can cause. It isn’t a case of just ‘not-liking’ the food, this has never happened to me in my 20 years of being a vegetarian and is truly horrific. I was offered 50% off my main course, so for all of our trouble we got a discount of £6.95 from the bill, leaving us with around £75 still to pay (for 4 people) which I really don’t think is good enough or any compensation for the upset caused.

It’s such a shame as The Coach House is a gorgeous venue and somewhere I’ve been excited about visiting. Inside it’s so festively decorated and such a lovely ambience. If the food was better it would be spot on, but it’s a disaster. This isn’t just a rant because of the ‘pork-incident‘, the rest of my group were disappointed with the food too. My advice is don’t waste your money – there are much nicer places to eat in Brighton and if they are mixing up meat/vegetables you’ve got to wonder what else is going on in the kitchen!

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  • This is horrible. I’ve been vegetarian for 8 years and I understand what you went through. I’m so sorry this happened. I’m sharing your post on twitter.

  • oh what a disappointment. I have also been veggie for 20+ years and once or twice meat has snuck on to my plate, and you just absolutely KNOW when it’s there, it’s so different to what you’re used to. I’m astonished that a Brighton restaurant wouldn’t have a veggie option, do they even know what city they’re in?

  • Oh no, this is awful! I used to be vegetarian and was horrified when Wagamama once served me meat spring rolls instead of veggie ones (only realising ONCE I’d bitten into it), but I genuinely don’t think people understand what a big thing it is to be faced with a situation like this. I’m surprised they didn’t give you your meal free…that’s quite poor etiquette. I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad time there! xx Sophie / http://www.prettyandpolished.co.uk

  • How terrible! They should have comped your dinner at least, that’s just not good enough. Funny I joked with my parents about their local pub not having a veggie option the other week and how I would never leave Brighton! Ha ha! Maybe it’s not all progressive.

  • I’m so surprised they got this so wrong both with the food in general but so very much for those with particular food requirements. Elinor .

  • That’s awful. Clearly that’s wrecked your whole visit to the place,
    but I still think you’ve been very fair in your description of the
    restaurant. Your photos are brilliant!

  • Jeez, that’s absolutely shocking! Especially as you say, in Brighton, where being vegetarian or vegan isn’t an issue and there’s always other options for people with dietary requirements! I’ll recommend that all my non meat-eating friends give this place a wide berth! x

    Holly ∣ Closingwinter