It is your ordinary London pub with a good splash of compassion! Norman’s Coach and Horses pub in Soho serves only vegetarian food with a few vegan choices. You can dine either in the downstairs traditional pub setting, or in “London’s secret tearoom”. Slipping behind the bar and up the narrow staircase, it’s like stepping back in time and the atmosphere is calmer than the pub, especially if you are there on a Friday night!
The most notable vegan suitable dish is their “tofush” and chips! A slab of tofu is transformed into a crunchy lump of loveliness – wrapped in seaweed and deep fried in batter, this fish substitute is just delicious! It’s all about the batter really anyway ain’t it?! Served, of course, with chips, fresh minted garden peas and a great homemade tartar sauce. So nice to eat fish and chips without harming my beautiful shiny sea conquering friends!
Another dish which leaves sea dwelling dudes alone is the “No Octopus Salad”. Delicious marinaded tofu and potatoes served in a crispy, and best of all, edible bowl. With a seasonally changing menu, this may not always be available, but you can still delight in fishiness as the tofush and chips is a permanent feature.
The other diamond main is the Sunday roast dinner. It’s so good to be able to have a Sunday roast in a pub – a great English tradition that no one should have to miss out on! At first I thought the vegan sausage roll would be weird with a roast, but really it’s just like having a Wellington. Plus, who in their right mind would turn down pastry and potatoes in the same meal?! Encourage your non-veg friends and family to put down their apron, turn off the oven and join you for lunch to show them how delicious a cruelty free a Sunday dinner can be! Again, the type of roast may change with the seasons, but has always been a delight.
The pub and tea room feel old fashioned and it gives off a nice atmosphere. The tea room feels particularly dainty with a display of cakes and mix of old china (although I’d rather avoid the bone china!). A good friend who visited for a vegan afternoon tea did say she was a little disappointed, as there was no vegan cream and only one type of vegan sandwich. I would be disappointed with this too and, although it is a shame when a great place lets you down a little, what’s the best thing to do about it? Engage and tell them! It’s all too easy to moan about the negatives when looking for your perfect vegan venue, it is wasted energy unless you speak up and teach them how to best serve their vegan customers. Encourage the positive and speak up about the negatives I say!
All in all, The Coach and Horses is a marvelous place for vegans to visit and have some great pub grub in a “normal” setting…and to me that’s a brilliant thing for vegans, non vegans and most of all the animals!