Coast to Coast site, folk were Googling what this meant for the Horwich dining scene. That chit chat on Twitter was all about the price of the humble burger. We even had a taxi driver ranting about it.
Twenty minutes from Horwich Parkway train station is Manchester, playing host to the likes of Solita, Almost Famous (RIP - for now) and Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn serving cheeseburgers for under a tenner. Likewise, just outside of Bolton you have The Farmer's Arms serving up some mouth watering burgers - all at £8.95. Coast to Coast's cheeseburger was £11.75 with the double version hitting £15.95. I've seen these prices in Manchester, but will this work on a retail park in Horwich?
Within ten minutes we had been called to our table, and introduced to the floor manager and our waitress for the evening. We wanted to love it, we just hoped the food matched the first impression.
Calzone New York Style - Meatball Special: This smelled wonderful when it was set in front of us. Fresh bread and a herby waft came from the plate. Whilst this was quite tasty, my husband noted that there was something a little artificial about the tomato sauce. Whether it was from a jar or something they had added to it, it was very sweet. However the crust was good and the meatballs half decent.
Cheeseburger with spicy ketchup: This did not look like the picture in the menu. Rather than a golden brioche-looking bun, it was more like something from the Asda value range. I've never seen one like this in America. To be honest it tasted ok, if not a little overdone. However, the spicy ketchup was terrible, so sickly I took one dip of a chip before abandoning this all together. A real shame.
Sides - sweet potato fries and 'mac and jack' with bacon: The sweet potato fries were everything I had hoped for - sweet and crispy. The 'mack and jack' was a little lacklustre, unfortunately all the sauce had pooled at the bottom and was quite bland. The top bits with bacon and melted cheese were better, but again it lacked seasoning.
Apple and cherry crumble with custard: A bit of an odd combo, but it was cold outside and this seemed the perfect antidote. First impressions were that this is a very odd way to serve crumble. You have to eat some of the crumble to have space to add the custard, and even when you do pour it, it's from a bowl so spills onto the plate. Unfortunately, there was nothing crumbly about this topping. When pushed with a spoon this rolled back into raw pastry dough. The filling itself was quite pleasant, but again (and I may be wrong) it didn't taste home made as it was quite syrupy. The bubblegum pink ice cream tasted sickly and artificial so I left that.
Profiteroles: Same three pot set up here too. These tasted fine, but a drizzle of chocolate sauce over small profiteroles was a little disappointing. For the best part of £6 you would expect more, and indeed we have received more from other restaurants.
At the moment I would say that Coast to Coast is not offering good value for money, as many of the items we tried were a bit of a let down - but it wasn't all doom and gloom. We spent around £60 on our meal, but there appears to be quite a reasonable lunch menu including two courses (from a set menu) for £10.95. I am tempted to return in a couple of months to see if things have got any better. As things stand at the moment, I'm sure there will be success in the early days as everyone is eager to try somewhere new. I worry for the restaurant long term if they continue cutting corners.
I did not start blogging to do scathing reviews, it's not in my plan. I sincerely hope that some of the points raised above can be taken on board, and that my feedback is taken as constructively rather than as criticism. I want to like this place. It's on my doorstep and reminds me of happy times in the States.
I'd be interested in knowing what you think if you go.
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