I HAVE driven along the A35 past the Coach and Horses pub on many an occasion.
This former coaching inn is perfect for stepping from your faithful steed or your modern motor and enjoying some of the best home-cooked pub food you are likely to taste.
The decor is very apt for a coaching inn and – conveniently – the pub offers bed and breakfast accommodation.
On arrival the young staff were falling over themselves to be helpful and the pub still had a healthy number of people eating on a Tuesday night, which was a good sign.
Our only complaint was that it was a cold winter’s evening and we found the otherwise welcoming bar area too chilly for our liking.
But our food arrived piping hot and beautifully presented.
Little touches like tomatoes on the vine served with the cheese Wellington and roast potatoes with the beef pie made the dishes stand out from typical pub fare.
And speaking as a true pie connoisseur, my beef and onion pie was in a class of its own with a delicious buttery crumbly pastry lid containing tender pieces of meat and a tasty gravy.
The Lancashire hot pot barely touched the sides as my friend powered her way through it.
And my vegetarian friend found the cheese Wellington to be an unusual and tasty choice.
We were sceptical that the desserts wouldn’t be half as good as the main courses, but we truly ate our words.
The hot chocolate fondant I shared with a friend was melt-in-the-mouth perfect and it was served with ice-cream and cream.
Also worth mentioning is the pub’s Black Rock grill, with a special offer on Friday evenings where you get your second steak for £5.
Steaks are cooked on black volcanic rocks heated to 440c and placed on a rock for diners to cook to their taste.
Our friendly server told us it was very popular and encouraged us to come back.
The Coach and Horses really is a friendly, high quality pit stop if you’re on your way somewhere or simply fancy trying a place where the pub food is of an extremely high standard.
I know that I’m going to find it hard to drive past now without feeling tempted to stop.
The Coach and Horses Inn can be found on the A35 at Winterbourne Abbas, four miles from Dorchester. For more information call 01305 889340 and visit the website at coachandhorsesdorset.co.uk