Mike Williams, Owner and Personal Trainer at MW Fitness of Wickham Hall, samples Bishop’s Stortford’s restaurant scene to offer a guilt-free guide to eating out.
This week: The Coach and Horses in Thorley.

I don’t know about you but there is something about grey skies and stormy weather that makes me fancy a good old-fashioned pub lunch. Looking for the comfort feeling you get from a good pub without the typically stodgy comfort food that usually accompanies it, my colleague Sara and I decided to try The Coach and Horses in Thorley. Ironically, as we turned up the rain stopped and the sun was shining!



The Coach and Horses is a quirky pub adorned with colourful watering cans, flowers and mismatched trinkets placed sporadically throughout the restaurant. The result is slightly eccentric but very welcoming.

We found plenty of typical ‘pub grub’ on the menu, but alongside it were delicious salads, courgetti and salmon dishes to name a few. We couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

What Did We Order?

Whilst we were waiting we ordered some mixed olives and ‘Padron peppers’. These were delicious green peppers roasted in Maldon sea salt. A few were enough as they were quite salty but incredibly tasty.

Mike: Main – Garden Vegetable Salad – Asparagus, plum tomato, cucumber, celery, red pepper, yellow pepper, carrot, avocado, gem baby spinach, pomegranate, garlic and lemon dressing. I also added grilled chicken and a slice of grilled halloumi to the dish. There was also the option of grilled salmon if you fancied or alternatively you can simply have this as a vegetarian dish.

My lunch was lovely. It was colourful, varied and there was plenty of it

Wherever you have carbs try to eat protein at the same time. By adding protein to a salad it will help you to stay fuller for longer preventing the urge to snack in between meals.

Sara: Main – Sara ordered from the specials menu and it didn’t disappoint. Roasted butternut squash topped with beetroot, mushrooms and goats cheese. This dish originally came with fries but she swapped these out for a rather generous side salad.

Butternut squash is packed with vitamins that will boost your immune system. Just one serving of butternut squash can offer up to four times the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A and over half the RDA of Vitamin C. A delicious and nutritious way to start fighting off the dreaded winter bugs.

As a dad, I often like to look at what restaurants have to offer children. So often it’s just chicken and chips, sausage and chips – basically anything with chips. I was pleasantly surprised to see items like hummus and chicken salad on the children’s menu. It was varied with a nod to the health conscious parents out there.

Our table was right opposite a wooden board that listed the indulgent desserts the Coach and Horses had to offer. I’m not going to lie … they sounded absolutely delicious and massively tempting. I had taken part in a semi-private training class at MWFITNESS that morning and my MYZONE belt showed that I had burnt over 1100 calories so I guess I could have justified the indulgence. Luckily, we were so full from our mains that we managed to not give into temptation. If you do though we don’t blame you…. But you need to call MWFITNESS afterwards, so we can help you work it all off!

Top Tip

If you do fancy a treat, search for the reduced sugar Prosecco. Sara was extremely excited to see this on the menu. 75% less sugar and fewer calories than your average glass of Prosecco. We asked to try a small glass and we couldn’t tell the difference. Remember though…everything in moderation folks!


  1. Healthy Options and Variety ★★★
  2. Flexibility (open to menu changes) ★★★★
  3. Service ★★★★
  4. Value for Money ★★★
  5. Overall 3.5/5.00


The Coach and Horses is a lovely country pub with friendly and accommodating staff that are happy to swap in healthier alternatives. I’ll definitely be taking my son back in the upcoming winter months if I’m looking for a healthy, family friendly meal.


If you have any health and fitness questions or would like me to review your restaurant please email [email protected]