“My kingdom for a yorkshire pudding”
How I came upon The Whip Tavern and what ultimately led me to make the long trek there is a food-related stream of consciousness. I have loved yorkshire puddings with roast beef (or prime rib) since the first time I tasted it in 1987 at the Pocono Hershey Resort filled with creamed horseradish. In a 1994 visit to Britain I got to enjoy yorkshire pudding in Yorkshire filled with “boozy beef” (a steak and ale combo). It left quite a favorable impression on me.
When I planned a 2008 cruise to Bermuda I was intent upon again finding a proper British pub that would serve yorkshire pudding with beef. I found such a place, though I was underwhelmed with this incarnation. So upon arriving back in Pennsylvania I said to myself “self, there must be a proper English pub somewhere in the region that serves a proper roast beef dinner w/ yorkshire pudding”. I came across a reference to The Whip Tavern in Philadelphia Magazine, which noted it was a genuine “English Pub in the middle of Chester County horse country”.
A visit to their website revealed: Roast Beef with Yorkshire Puddings served on the first weekend of the month. But the online menu revealed something far more exciting (I told you this was a stream of consciousness): Beef on Weck. I first heard of roast beef sandwiches served on kummelweck rolls when reading Tim Russert’s “Big Russ and Me”. Russert had an entire chapter on the foods of his youth introduced to him by his father in Buffalo. Hot roast beef, hot horseradish on a rye and salted specialty roll? This I had to try.
I filed The Whip Tavern in the back of my mind and looked for a good excuse to go. Two years later I finally decided to make a Friday night trek to The Whip. The closest “town” to The Whip is Coatesville. The Whip is a good 8 or so miles from there in the middle of nowhere. Really. But you wouldn’t know it from the crowds. We bellied up to the bar, as there is no host or hostess, and gave our names. We were told the wait would be about an hour. We found a spot on the couch of this very well replicated British pub (I’ve spent enough time in British pubs to be comfortable saying that) and waited for our table. The wait was only about 40 minutes and we killed our time watching the Main Line looking crowd interact.
I was excited to find Carlsberg, a Danish beer, on tap. It was one of my “go to” beers when traveling abroad but I don’t find it often at home. I was also excited to see half pints, my preferred serving portion, on the menu as well. Uncommon in America, but common in Britain, I like the half pint because you get fresh, cold beers more often.
There were two other menu items I had come here intent on trying: Scotch Eggs and Welsh Rarebit. I’d read about both before and never tried either. One thing I noticed as we sat down: almost half the tables had empty or near empty orders of welsh rarebit which I considered a good sign.
I ordered the Scotch Eggs and Welsh Rarebit for the table and my Beef on Weck for dinner (we were there on weekend #2 of the month so the Yorkshire Puddings were not on the menu. This will require a return trip some time). My companion ordered the Venison and Ale pie (a 2nd weekend of the month speciality).
The Scotch Egg was cut in half so we could both try it. It is a hard boiled egg, wrapped in pork sausage and deep fried. This is an Atkins friendly dish but not a heart friendly item. It was very good, as you’d expect. Eggs and sausage. I’m glad I tried it. Colman’s mustard, which I saw often on tables in Britain, was also served with the egg (though we didn’t partake).
The Welsh Rarebit was so good we went through all the toast points before we’d finished the cheese dish which, as best I could guess, involved mustard, cheddar cheese, perhaps some ale or wine…it was really good. I thought I tasted some cheese curd pieces in there as well. Our waitress, Lauren, was super efficient and friendly and brought us another bowl of toast points so we could keep eating.
The Venison and Ale pie was a proper British savory pie with big pieces of venison, a rich broth and fresh vegetables baked in. Both that and my meal were served with real British french fries – steak style – served crisp and piping hot with malt vinegar and ketchup.
The Beef on Weck was delicious. The roll was softer then I anticipated but was not displeased. It was real beef, sliced from a roast and I ordered mine with English cheddar cheese and caramelized onions as suggested by Lauren. The horseradish was appropriately hot and the au jus was real, not from a can. It was very, very good and I’d order another of these sandwiches on a return visit.
Although we didn’t have room for it we both ordered the signature sticky toffee pudding ala mode for dessert. It was well done, a steamed brown sugar/vanilla pudding cake with a toffee sauce topped with ice cream and whipped cream.
Coffee, soda and drink and the total bill was only $73. So The Whip, on top of everything else, is not overpriced.
If you can find the time to make the trip and you don’t mind a wait (they don’t take reservations) I strongly recommend the Whip. One note: An online review pegged this place as BYOB. “Bring Your Own Bullhorn”. It is loud inside because, unlike many British pubs I’ve visited, these floors are hard wood, not carpeted, and the sound carried. I had to cup my ears to hear the waitress. But the atmosphere was jovial and the food was fantastic.
They serve beer only. Bring your own wine or mixed drinks (and many people had shakers of martini’s, etc. they brought from home).
Parking can be a trick. The small lot fills up quickly. We parked along the side of the road as others had done. The owner/operator was of British lineage.
Open 11am – Midnight | Closed Tuesday | No Reservations Accepted
1383 North Chatham Road, Coatesville, Pennsylvania 19320
610.383.0600 | email@example.com