Saturday 23 November 2013

Coast to Coast, Middlebrook Retail Park - Bolton

Coast to Coast Bolton
You've got to love a bit of controversy. As soon as the signs went up on the boards around the 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?
Coast to Coast Bolton
We went the day after we got back from New York, still jet lagged and craving the belly busting delights of the Big Apple. It seemed the perfect time to test a place claiming to serve 'authentic American food'. We arrived about 6pm to be greeted by the front of house host, who was a tidy young chap in a sharp suit with slick hair. We were given one of those 'buzzer' things and asked to take a seat in the bar, our table would be about twenty minutes.
Coast to Coast Bolton - Bar
We were happy to sit and take in the scenery, and both agreed that we loved both the decor and vibe of the place, which reminded us of the last bar we had been to in New York called the 3 Monkeys. They had the ball game on (granted - our football not theirs) and the bar area was a hive of cocktail making activity. There was a decent craft beer list too; Sam Adams, Goose Island and Brooklyn gave us a good feeling.

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.
Coast to Coast Bolton - Drinks
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.
Coast to Coast Bolton - Calzone
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.
Coast to Coast Bolton - Burger
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.
Coast to Coast Bolton - Sides
There is no dessert menu - instead your waitress will (at speed) recite the day's specials. There were probably about five in total plus ice creams. This also means you don't get to see the prices...

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.
Coast to Coast Bolton - Crumble
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.
Coast to Coast Bolton - Profiteroles
You can only compare an establishment and their dishes to other places you have tried, but as I'm sure any regular reader would know, we eat out a lot. We have sampled comparable dishes many times before, therefore my comments are based on comparisons to other restaurants offering the same dishes at a similar price.

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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1 comment:

  1. I wish we had an American style restaurant where I live. Your pictures look lovely as always :-) x


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