In the Eighties, the White Swan was the other half’s stomping ground. Twice weekly sessions with pals were the norm and the pub had the sort of appeal that spanned generations. The place has had many revamps over the past two decades (god, we’re old) but what did we make of its most recent reinvention?
Well, at first glance we wanted to move in. Velvet sofas, paint fresh from the Farrow & Ball school of period charm, fabulous lighting and show-stopping mirrors (even in the ladies loo) and a roaring fire made us a bit giddy.
Before we arrived I’d expected pub grub in nice surroundings. Not so. Yes, there are the old guards like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie, but not pub grub by anyone’s standards. The shepherd’s pie from the specials menu was elevated to another level. Shoulder of lamb cooked for hours, shredded then added to the chef’s rich deep sauce made 24 hours in advance to maximise the flavour was certainly not run of the mill. At £17 it was a bit steep, but lip-smacking nonetheless.
Two words, chicken karaaga. Crunchy chicken coated in some kind of deliciousness that defied words was served on ribbons of cucumber with mooli, grains and a mouth-wateringly brilliant katsu sauce. If I had to eat this everyday for the rest of my life I would happily take that. Duck liver parfait with melba toast and chutney was perfectly nice, but the karaaga was leading lady of diva proportions here.
Crab and lobster fishcake served on a pea puree with asparagus was fantastic while a side of green veg screamed: “I’m playing second fiddle to no one.” The kale was indeed superb. A sentence we never thought we’d pen.
One of those chocolate bomb affairs which melts under the heat of salted caramel sauce drizzled on top was a bit of a let-down. While we enjoyed the theatre, the chocolate tasted like those sad little nuggets from an advent calendar. You know the ones.
Moving on from the bomb, we reckon the old stomping ground might have just become the new stomping ground. The two-course fixed price menu for £12.95 unless you deviate to the specials, is a cracking deal plus there’s also a package that includes unlimited prosecco on a Saturday afternoon. See you there. Check out the website for details and always drink responsibly obvs. Hic.