Festive stuffing at Coast to Coast
A few nights back we received an invitation from Coast to Coast American Restaurant & Bar to sample their festive menu. We’ve been meaning to visit for a while, and as we’re practically neighbours on Broad Street it’s mystifying as to why we haven’t been before; time to remedy our past mistakes and accept aforementioned offer.
Stepping from a blustery autumnal evening and through the doors of Coast to Coast was like stepping into a onesie (I can only imagine!) - subdued lighting (nothing over 30 watts here ma’am) snug booths, nooks and crannies – this is the kind of ambience I love and I immediately felt comfortable – Southern Comfortable if you will.
Upon arrival we were ushered to a table on a tiered level which gave us a fine view of the restaurant below. Motown music was playing, an American Football game was deep into the 4th quarter (?) on the TV’s and there was a lively but not overtly loud buzz from the diners below who were tucking into their ribs, burgers, dogs, pizzas – As I was lapping up the Americana atmosphere we were handed a warm apple spiced cider; a fine beverage that immediately evoked all the cosy feelings of Christmas.
But no time to get too relaxed, we were here on some serious tasting business - firstly drinks - and handily for this task we’re led to a bar – this is the domain of Andy Pearson who is one of Coast to Coast’s finest mixologists - the guy who designed their Christmas cocktail menu no less. His fine roster of festive cocktails are big on Christmas flavours and don’t skimp on the alcohol content; they are indulgent and very welcome indeed!
Tonight we were learning how to make four cocktails, beginning with a Mimosa with Grand Marnier, Processo and orange juice, this is a breakfast cocktail and this one was mixed by my colleague/ I'd go as far to say friend Katie. Here it is for your viewing pleasure...
Next my personal favourite of the night an Egg Nog / Mount Gay Rum concoction, with double cream and gingerbread syrup. It was dusted with chocolate and finished off with booze infused raisins. This was truly tasty and I would later order another.
And here’s Katie’s favourite – a Chocolate Orange Martini affair - this consisted of Vodka, White Chocolate Liquer, Cointreau, chocolate bitters and syrup with frozen white chocolate around the glass, unfortunately for her she is driving so I must help with the consumption of all the above – curses!
Along the way Andy gives some insight into the flavours and alcohol used, the mixing methods and tools needed. He was a natural showman, like a good barman should be and reminds me a bit of an amalgamation of Lee Mack and Steve Carrell, anyway that’s by the by.
All this mixing, measuring and shaking has given us a healthy appetite and it’s lucky that this is the case as we are about to embark on a festive feast! Step up Executive Chef Jim Dickenson who like Andy before him was tasked with designing the Christmas food menu. He too has done Coast to Coast proud.
Jim tells us that for this tasting session he has reined it in – on previous nights he had prepared a full plate of each dish for each diner! I felt mixed emotions of jealousy and relief, for whilst the food is mighty fine, I think anymore would be bordering on dangerous – heaven knows if those journalists have eaten since, for all I know they were probably still at Coast to Coast lying in a booth waiting for the impetus to move!
We start with goats cheese and pesto on mini ciabattas and mushroom risotto - now to be perfectly honest this does not fill me with joy, goats cheese is perhaps one of the only foods in the entire world which I dislike. However I try it anyway and am pleasantly surprised. Instead of tasting like a hamster’s cage this goats cheese is subtle and pesto is one of my favourite flavours anyway. The white wine and mushroom risotto is lovely.
Next up my first and perhaps earliest ever turkey Christmas dinner of the year - I think it will be hard to beat. Two thick generous turkey breasts with all the trimmings, great crunchy veg and of course pigs in blankets. Rich gravy and some fine roasties make this a winner. It’s a generous size too!
Of course this is an American restaurant and next up my favourite dish of the night, the Maple Bacon Burger. The prime burger is complemented by some delicious crispy maple bacon. We also discover that fries dipped in maple syrup is a winning combo that deserved to have been discovered much sooner than this. The dish is accompanied by some spicy ketchup and homemade Coleslaw or perhaps as this is an American restaurant just ‘slaw’.
Pheweee – we are full and very happily so. But wait, what’s that through yonder kitchen door cometh? Why it’s Jim with a platter of desserts. Time to loosen our belts, take a deep breath and hope we can manage enough of this latest offering so as not to appear impolite.
Sweet Abraham Lincoln! We are presented with a cookie cheesecake made with Oreo® cookies and served with Oreo® ice cream and Chantilly cream, a Hazelnut Chocolate Brownie Sundae and that American classic a Pecan Pie with ice cream and Chantilly cream. This is going to be challenging but oh so good! We take our spoons to hand, clink them for luck and embark on a journey of taste and pleasure.
I invite Jim for some, but he declines, he’s probably bushed from cooking up a storm. We make a sizeable dent but are unable to finish and there is nothing else to do except sit there and thank goodness for Andy and Jim.
Hang about! You said four cocktails I hear you cry, you only mentioned three! Well I do not lie, as we were recovering from dessert we returned, well rolled back to the bar for one last mixing session. This time the most indulgent yet, a snowman which packed a serious punch - here is the little fella complete with twiglet arms, Oreo® eyes and a carrot...
We left Coast to Coast contented and stuffed and wondering why we hadn’t gone sooner. We stepped back into a blustery evening – thankfully I needed a little help from the wind to carry me back home.
Coast to Coast have really put a lot of thought into their food and drink offering this Christmas; fabulous flavours that really are evocative of the season, book your meal now here www.c2crestaurants.com/content/food
We were sampling from the three courses for £24.95 menu here’s the full one...enjoy!
Thanks to the great team at Coast 2 Coast for their invitation, generosity, cooking and mixology skills.
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