Inn Demand - Bruce Dennill

The Coachman’s Inn, on Peter Place near the Sandton Clinic, is one of those landmark buildings most Joburg locals will have passed at least a couple of times during their time in the city.

Inn Demand

Bruce Dennill

The Coachman’s Inn, on Peter Place near the Sandton Clinic, is one of those landmark buildings most Joburg locals will have passed at least a couple of times during their time in the city.

Looking like the entrance to a Tudor theme park among the more modern buildings in the area – it’s all beams, acute angles and yellowed glass from the outside – it’s a place that deserves investigation.

The best reason to venture inside is the lengthy menu, where many of the delicacies are established favourites of patrons who have been visiting the establishment since it opened nearly two decades ago.

Maintaining the high level of quality, in terms of both food and service, over that time requires a great deal of commitment. Much of the success of the Coachmans formula is likely down to the fact that it’s been owned by the same family for that entire time, so they know what works and what doesn’t.

What certainly does work – especially when you’re paying more than R100 for a main course – is the sort of service that you receive at this elegant venue. Enjoy a complimen-tary sherry as you peruse the menu, which is long, but not wasteful.

Someone will appear to describe the specials of the day, which go on for almost as long as the set menu – how the chefs deal with such variety on a daily basis is a marvel.

Once you’ve settled on your choices (I enjoyed a delicious Karoo lamb with a honey glaze, while my wife’s ostrich medallions were also pronounced excellent), the service machine kicks into overdrive, but also becomes less high profile.

Where at the beginning of the evening you may feel a little overwhelmed by all the attention, you now just sit back and relax as superfluous cutlery and glasses disappear and reappear, wine is surreptitiously refilled and the clutter of general restaurant dining becomes the only thing missing from the experience.

The decor may be a bit Biggie Best for some, but it fits the general theme, and if you want stark minimalism, rather go to some trendy bar for twice the price and none of the warmth. You’ll have cheaper meals – mains vary from R90 to about R200, and a glass of the house red will set you back R38 – but you will leave feeling happy to have paid, ultimately, for an old-fashioned fine dining experience, rather than for a passing hype that will mean nothing in a month’s time.

Source: The Citizen