Review from the Bedford Times & Citizen, April 14th 2011:
Review of Coach House at The Ship from 3 March 2011
The Ship is a rather unassuming place from the outside and is something of a rarity in Bedford town centre, in that it’s actually very nice. Log fires and real ale are the order of the day, along with a good selection of whiskeys. It’s a great place to have a quiet drink during the week (unless you happened upon our charity pub quiz the other night), but really comes alive at the weekend, especially during the summer. I’ve been on several occasions when it’s impossible to move due to the crowds.
This gem of a pub hides one more little secret though. That secret is the Coach House at the back. A tiny room housed in an off-shoot of the main building holds around ten tables with maximum seating for around twenty people a night. Very nicely decorated and lit, it’s a lovely place for both a romantic dinner or a party for ten. But what makes this place different is that you cook your own food. And what a superbly delicious idea that is!
Although the starters looked good from the menu, both @Mooley and I decided that we wanted to head straight to the main course to sample the steaks we had heard so much about. Whilst waiting for them to be prepared we indulged in a glass of rather nice Rioja each, though neglected to make a note of what it was we were drinking.
Dinner didn’t take too long to get to us, and what a sight it was! The picture really doesn’t do justice to the sheer scale of the food we were given. As we have similar tastes, both @Mooley and I ordered the 8oz Aberdeen Angus fillet steak, chips and vegetables, with a side of onion rings. But this was no pub grub. This was food the likes of which I’ve not seen in Bedford before. The homemade chips were of an enormous size, but didn’t suffer at all for it. In fact the outside was just the right amount of crispy and the inside was fluffy and white. The seasonal vegetables were numerous and flavoursome, and the onion rings were spot on.
What can I say about the meat though? It was as thick as footballer’s wife and sizzling as it was brought out on top of a volcanic rock, which seemed to have been heated up to the temperature of the sun. The top and bottom were nicely browning, whilst the middle was red, soft and absolutely stunning throughout. Despite consistent cooking during the time it was on my plate, the rock simply served to lightly blacken the outside and give a wonderful texture of crispy and soft. The inside of each slice of meat I cut was then placed for no more than a second on the rock before being doused in stilton sauce and popped in my mouth, where it instantly melted on the tongue. Without a doubt it was one of the nicest steaks I’ve ever eaten and my hat goes off to both the restaurant and the supplier.
Despite being stuffed from the enormous main course, I couldn’t leave the restaurant without sampling a desert. @Mooley didn’t want one and simply ordered a rather good black coffee whilst I tucked in to my lemon meringue tart. After finishing our coffees and filling up our wine glasses we headed into the main bar to listen to the rock jam session happening inside. A very nice way to round off the evening.
As you can probably tell from what I’ve already said, I absolutely adored the Coach House. The decor, the atmosphere, the reasonable price and the wine, but mostly the absolutely stunning food. More people need to know this place exists and everyone within a ten mile radius needs to pop in and give it a try. I can guarantee you aren’t going to be disappointed.
From "E-Life" magazine, Spring 2011: