Restaurant review - The Coast, Tarporley
PUBLISHED: 11:03 23 March 2017
Not a return to Sorrento, but a return to The Coast in Tarporley for a taste of southern Italy. Review by Louise Allen-Taylor
It’s a drizzly winter evening, so where do I imagine myself to be? Sitting outside a restaurant in Amalfi, in a square just off that road which scrambles heroically up, down and along the craggy mountainous coast in a riot of hairpin bends and scary sea views.
You know the restaurant I mean: it’s the one with the view up the majestic flight of steps leading into Amalfi Cathedral; the steps where all the tourists sit down for a breather. The sun’s beating down, scooteristas are buzzing by, there are fascinatingly wizened sausages and medicinal-looking liqueur bottles in the windows of the little delis on that busy street leading up the hill, away from the sea. All is well with the world.
OK, I can’t have the sea, the sun or indeed the cathedral. But I can have a little of that Amalfi atmosphere, I can have the scooter and I can have the sausages. Yes, we are at The Coast on Tarporley High Street, a restaurant avowedly dedicated to the beauty and flavours of the Amalfi coastline.
The Italian style announces itself in the shape of a beautiful 1960s Lambretta scooter near the bar - the kind of artefact you’re much more likely to see being driven by an old parka-clad Manchester mod than any Italian commuter these days. There are arty flip flops on the wall, arrangements of parched driftwood, wicker chairs and exposed brickwork counterpointed by comfy grey semi-circular booths with marble tables. Italian atmosphere all present and correct.
And so to eat. I choose a starter of brasato di salsiccia, a pot roast of Montecalvese fennel sausage (£7.95). In English money, this is a sausage hot pot and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Hunks of sausage are cooked down with red wine, chicken stock, tomatoes and cannellini beans to a hearty, flavoursome viscous goo. On the side are two slices of ciabatta, crispy charred on the outside, molten with garlic on the inside.
My companion goes for a tomato and mozzarella salad (£4.50) which doesn’t leave much room for imaginative cheffing, but is all about sourcing good basic ingredients, which The Coast does.
My partner’s main of spaghetti vongole (£16.50) proves to be an authentic exercise in simple, elegant Italian cuisine. The pasta has a hint of bite to it, the tiny clams come swimming in a garlic and white wine sauce and garlanded with chopped chives and the only possible criticism from this battle-hardened palate is that it could have used a little more chili kick.
My ravioli lobster (£16.50) comes with a very rich and creamy sauce, combining prawns, tomato and lobster bisque. It’s delicious and the pasta is superb.
Dessert just has to be tiramisu (£6.50) and it’s as good a version of an old favourite as you will get, served with a scoop of coffee ice cream.
A stroll around the cathedral square before climbing up through the lemon groves to our hotel? Oops, no, it’s raining, it’s dark and we are still in Tarporley.
The Coast, 67 High Street, Tarporley, CW6 0DP. Tel: 01829 730785. Go online to see the full menu, children’s deals and range of dishes for every occasion: www.thecoast.uk.com