|Ambiance:||(4 / 5)|
|Service:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Value for money:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Toilets:||(3.5 / 5)|
Basingstoke doesn’t seem to be well known for its high calibre of restaurants so we wordlessly cut our losses and decided on the ever so trusty Pizza Express for dinner. Also, being a Wednesday, and having an Orange Wednesday code helped in our decision making. As it turned out, we weren’t so quick in getting our code and ended up going for a drink at Coal while we waited.
Checking our phones every few minutes hoping for a text from Uncle Dave, we ordered our next drink. Okay, so I’m not a fan of mid-week drinking but as it was happy hour; selected cocktails were half priced, this meant that the drinks were almost cheaper than ordering a diet coke so I couldn’t really say no, could I?! By our second drink, it was getting late and we were at risk of missing our viewing of “The Equaliser” – Denzel Washington eat your heart out! I should probably mention we still hadn’t got our code… so that was it, Pizza Express was no more and Coal’s seemingly varied menu was enough for us.
Craving something with mince, my eyes were hooked by the chilli fries (which turned out to be chilli spiced, not actual mince chilli). Disappointment wouldn’t cover it so I begged the bartender to find me something with chilli in it. Wow, I sound like a pregnant lady getting one of her cravings…! As it turned out, the chef whipped me up some real, meat chilli and I was chuffed. Kofe, if you’re reading this – MASSIVE points!
Other than the chilli, we ordered three smaller dishes for £10, including chorizo in garlic and wine, calamari and nachos and a chicken and chorizo calzone. We opted to sit in the bar rather than the restaurant, which proved to work against me as the breeze from the door being opened and closed made it quite chilly. However, the food arrived soon enough and the heat of the copious amount of chilli we seemed to have in front of us (not only with my specially made chilli but with the jalepenos on the nachos, chorizo, and pretty much everything we ordered)… warmed me up.
I was genuinely really impressed by the food in Coal; possibly because I wasn’t expecting much but everything was really tasty. Considering how cheap the chorizo was (£4ish), we received a LOT of it and the calamari was perfectly cooked. The calzone’s dough was soft, light and delicious and we agreed that it was the best pizza we’ve had together. The only thing I’d say would be to serve it with some ragu/salsa on the side to give us something to mop up the thick crusts with.
So, if you’d like something slightly different to the average chain, give Coal a try between ‘5 and 8′, as not only do you get half priced cocktails, but pretty decent food too!
Recommendation (4 / 5)