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Coachman's Inn

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So now, a few weeks on we made another booking and this is my story.

In case you don’t know, Coachman’s Inn is a French restaurant near St Stithians school along Peter Place in Bryanston. They are one of Joburg’s few French restaurants and one of Joburg’s even fewer French restaurants that make you feel as if you’re sitting at a table in provincial France. By this I mean the décor and building itself, with an old Tudor style and cosy colonial interior.

We were seated downstairs next to the wine cellar and I had a ceiling above me that I could have easily knocked my head on if I wasn’t careful (oh and I’m only 5ft7 by the way). But I liked it, it gave me more of that provincial feel which I was hoping for, but I also wondered what would have happened if I was six feet tall…

The waiters are par brilliance; they are knowledgeable, subtle and friendly, yes I said friendly, that weird thing where waiters actually smile at you and show some enthusiasm (excuse the elaborate explanation of what I mean by friendly but I rarely find this these days).

The menu is vast with some of it in French so you know it’s good. They also offer a bunch of nightly ‘specials’. These are meals which I’m guessing they prepare for prior to dinner time. This means smoother transitions between meals and a bit of order to the chaos that is pairing in the context of such a vast menu. They advise certain dishes, and from what I can tell these are chefs specials, so following their advice is probably a good idea.

I went for a prawn cocktail on a base of soft mango and topped with a curry and mayonnaise sauce to start. My fiancée went for duck spring rolls with a choice of sweet sauces and we both almost ate our fingers. For mains I ordered a deboned half baby duck, done in the oven until crispy and then topped with an orange based sauce while the old lady went for the pork belly, both of which where spectacularly presented and divinely tasty. It seems they serve all meals with a big plate of veg, because we got one filled with creamed spinach, baby onions and pumpkin which really did the trick in relieving some of the richness which you’re bound to have for your mains.

This place is perfect for romantic dinners, the flavours left me speechless and I have to say that if I had the money I would be there every night. Plus if you are a fan of service Coachman’s WILL impress you. They are well timed, they serve a little sorbet between courses, explain the specials well and they even called my fiancée the following day to ask how things went. Brilliant!

by Byron Marais

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