“ Address: The Mint Bar and Restaurant, 16 Academy Street, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland ML5 3AU „
*~The Mint Restaurant - Essential Information~*
16 Academy Street
The Mint Restaurant is part of the Navan Tavern Group of restaurants. This group offers two restaurants in Glasgow, one in Motherwell (my home town) and The Mint. The Mint is located up a side street from the main shopping area of Coatbridge. Street parking is available. It is very easy to find if you know your way around Coatbridge. The exterior of the restaurant is homely and welcoming.
The Mint is a family run establishment and they claim to offer home cooked food in a stylish and relaxed environment. The restaurants has a function room upstairs which offers tribute evenings and meals. They also cover weddings and other events. The main restaurant is accessed via a ramp and the inside of the restaurant is disabled/pram friendly. The restaurant can accommodate 170 diners and they have the option to sit at the back of the restaurant, in booths in the centre, round tables with leather chairs at the bar or in the conservatory (set across two levels - stairs at one level). The bar is located at the entrance and toilets (including disabled) and located down one end of the restaurant.
The restaurant is very clean and spacious. The decor is modern and stylish throughout and stunning (and massive) decorative lights are dotted around the ceiling. We were seated in the conservatory which is incredibly bright thanks to large windows which look onto the street below. The conservatory had a lovely temperature. It was quite clammy outside so a few windows were ajar to allow some air to flow in. Dining in the conservatory was lovely as it felt quite special and fancy! We were seated a wooden table with padded chairs and overall we were impressed with the layout and design of this restaurant. Toilets were clean and modern too.
*~Food and Special Offers~*
*'2 for 1' on selected main courses available Monday - Thursday from 4pm.
*Children eat free Monday - Thursday (1 per adult dining and 2 courses must be purchased from lunch or dinner menu to qualify.
The Mint has something for everyone including British, Italian and even Mexican food on the menu. The full menu can be viewed on the website (web address above) so I will note a few.
*~Lunch and Dinner Set Menu~*
There is a set lunch menu and dinner menu available which are fairly similar with the exception of a few main dishes extra on the dinner menu. These menus apply to Monday - Thursday.
Lunch is served from 12pm - 4pm. Prices are £6.75 (one course), £8.95 (two courses) and £9.95 (three courses).
Dinner is served from 4pm - 6pm and from 12.30pm - 5pm on a Sunday. Prices are £9.95 (two courses) and £12.95 (three courses.
Starters include soup, pakora, nachos and garlic mushrooms. Mains are limited to gourjons, steak pie, lasagne, curry, pasta (vegetarian option) Macaroni and chilli are available in the evening. Desserts include ice cream sundae, caramel shortcake and meringue.
*~Al a Carte~*
The al a carte menu is available all day, everyday and offers a huge choice of dishes to suit all. Additional starters include a black pudding dish, mussels and spring rolls (£3.45 - £5.95). Main dishes are priced from £8.45. The dishes from the set menu are included as well as pasta and risotto dishes, various burgers with sides including the Jalapeno Ghost Burger (very very spicy!). Special dishes include steak, herb crusted salmon and duck breast. Stirfry and Mexican dishes such as burritos and enchiladas are also available. A range of sides are available including mash, chips, salad etc from £1.50.
Vegetarians have a few dishes to choose from off the al a carte menu including goats cheese crostini (£9.75), macaroni cheese (£8.95), enchiladas and stirfry can also be adapted to suit non meat eaters. Desserts are those shown above so not a varied choice compared to most restaurants.
*~Drinks. Childrens Menu and Other Options~*
The Mint offers a good range of drinks including soft drinks (Coca Cola, Irn Bru, diluted juice etc), wine and cocktails. Cocktails are priced at £5.65. Wine varies in price up to £17.95 a bottle. Soft drinks are around £1.50 a can.
Children have the option of burger, chicken dippers, sausage, macaroni and fish fingers with chips and beans or peas. A childs meal is priced at £3.99 and this includes an ice cream. The Mint also offer an afternoon tea deal from £7.50. Lite-bites of baked potatoes and baguettes are also available.
I cannot fault the service we received at The Mint. The waitresses were friendly and well presented. We were seated promptly and our drinks and different courses were brought in a timely manner. Our sons meal was brought with our starters. We were served by a few different waitresses and all were lovely despite being so busy. Plates were taken away once everyone at our table had finished and our bill was brought when requested.
*~Why We Chose To Dine Here~*
We live around 20 minutes away from Coatbridge. Despite having family over that way, we rarely eat out in Coatbridge. I have always noticed that Coatbridge is full of little cafes, chippy shops and deli shops offering sandwiches to take away. We recently had to take our son to a health appointment in Coatbridge mid afternoon. As my fiance was off work, we decided that we would like to go for a bite to each first. As I didn't know of any restaurants in the town centre, I carried out a quick online search which brought up The Mint Restaurant. The menu choice suited our tastes and as were intending on dining at lunchtime, we could take advantage of the purse and budget friendly set menu.
We arrived at the restaurant around 12.30pm and were glad to be served quickly as we had an appointment to keep an hour and a half later. We ordered some drinks and were given a large, leather effect folder with the various menus inside. My son was given some crayons and colouring paper which he was happy with - very family friendly. The restaurant was busy on our arrival with families, business people and couples. I did feel a little undressed as the restaurant is quite stylish! I didn't realise that this restaurant is part of the same group who own a local pub to us. This is much nicer than the local pub to us as it doesn't reek of old men and beer! It has a lovely, relaxed ambience.
Whilst the al a carte menu may seem a little expensive, the portion sizes offered are excellent. The set menu offered excellent value for money and we opted for 3 courses each. We managed to get our sons meal for free as part of the special, midweek offer which was appreciated and saved us £4.00 on our bill. I found the set menu choice to be really good as there was something for everyone from Chinese to Italian and Mexican.
It took me a while to decide what to order to be honest. I didn't think my tummy could handle two Mexican courses. I had planned to order the soup (which was lentil served with crusty bread) followed by the Chilli Beef Burrito (chilli beef, rice, jalapenos, cheese, chilli sauce rolled in tortillas and served with sour cream). Once I founded out what the daily special was, my mind was changed! I ordered the nachos which were oven roasted (tortilla chips, bacon, two cheeses, jalapenos, chilli sauce and sour cream). My dish was nicely presented. It was clear (by the heat of the dish) that the nachos were fresh from the oven. There was a good amount of tortilla chips which retained a crunch and were delicately salty. The topping was flavoursome and had a mild spice except for when a jalapeno made contact with my mouth! The cheese was lovely - bubbly and well melted. The sour cream skimmed the top of the dish. I enjoyed my dish and found the portion size to be generous.
My fiance opted for the garlic mushrooms (sauteed button mushrooms on toastie ciabatta with salad leaves). He received a decent sized portion of sauce covers mushrooms which were flavoursome and had a lovely texture. The ciabatta was fresh and warm and the salad was fresh too. He enjoyed his starter. Our son wanted sausage and chips without any sides. He received two, plump link sausages which appeared meaty and well cooked. His chips were chunky and very tasty - I should know, I pinched one whilst waiting on my main course. The perfect child size portion for a toddler but perhaps not filling enough for a 10 year old.
We had a 10 minute wait between dishes which was fine. I noticed that the chicken gourjons appeared to a popular choice with nearby dinners - they looked delicious and huge! I normally opt for steak pie but on this occasion, I decided to sample the daily special of Peppercorn Chicken (tender chicken breast with homemade peppercorn sauce, mash and seasonal vegetables). This dish is priced at £9.95 on the main menu so I was pleased it was included as part of my 3 courses.
I received a hearty portion which was beautifully presented. I was impressed with the large mound of creamy mash which was nicely seasoned and not too buttery which I appreciated. They didn't skimp on the chicken - I had three, plump breasts of chicken on my plate and they were neatly arranged against the mash. The chicken breasts were perfectly cooked and has a lovely, tender texture. The peppercorn sauce was thick and piping hot. It had a lovely flavouring - creamy with a rich peppery taste which concluded that this dish is perfect as a Winter warmer meal. There was enough sauce to coat the veg, chicken and mash without soaking it. The vegetables I had included carrots and peas. The carrots had a pleasant bite but I cannot comment on the peas as I hate them. The vegetables were fresh. I loved my main course. It was tasty and incredibly filling.
My fiance opted for the steak pie (shoulder of Scottish beef, rich onion gravy, puff pastry, seasonal vegetables with chips or potatoes). He also received a large plate of piping hot food and wasn't disappointed. The beef was of a high quality and didn't appear or taste fatty. I had a try (as I always do) and was impressed by the rich gravy and puff pastry which was golden brown and slightly soggy from the gravy - just the way we like it. The chips and veg were consumed happily too.
I very rarely leave a restaurant without being tempted by the desserts on offer. My son had a bowl of vanilla ice cream which he enjoyed. Whilst the selection isn't spectacular, the three options on offer are likely to suit most sweet tooths. If they don't suit, you could always finish off your meal with a coffee of some sorts. I went for the caramel shortcake with cream and had the option of it being served hot or cold. I opted for hot and it came out well presented with some chocolate sauce and powder across the top. A jug of single cream was also on the plate. A small yet satisfying sweet dessert. The caramel shortcake was delicious especially warm as the chocolate and caramel melted together and the base simply crumbled and melted in the mouth. The perfect way to finish my meal.
My fiance decided to try the ice cream sundae and received a huge sundae glass filled with ice cream, fruit, sauce and topped with a large mound of cream. The sundae was well appreciated by all three of us given how big it was! It was tasty and there was a lot too it. I loved the vanilla ice cream with the raspberry sauce - it was difficult to finish given the size of our main courses so we did leave a little.
*~Conclusion and Recommendation~*
I am glad we found this little gem of a restaurant - it is tucked away so not instantly noticeable as you stroll up the town centre. It offers high quality food, friendly service, excellent surroundings and to top it off, bargain set menu offers. We paid £25 (by debit card) for two, three course meals, a childs meal and three drinks which I think is fantastic. I left a tip as I was highly impressed with our whole dining experience. Now that I know that this restaurant exists, I can see us returning the next time we are in Coatbridge. I would like to sample the cocktail afternoon tea so may be returning quicker than expected!
I cannot really fault The Mint Restaurant sn can highly recommend that you visit if you are in the area. You won't be disappointed as we left full to the brim and absolutely satisfied. The set menu has a good selection compared to a lot of restaurants but if you want something more special, you can opt for a la carte.The layout of the restaurant allows it to be perfect for couples, families, larger groups etc.
Thanks for reading :)
This review was originally posted on Ciao July 2012.