Eager to repeat my happy 2010 June birthday dinner experience, we returned. Mistake. The staff, whilst attentive and friendly were probably the scruffiest individuals who have ever served us. Their lack of grace detracted from any sense of occasion that a 3 course dinner at an award winning establishment should generate for diners We rejected first 2 tables offered (one too small and in the dark, front room of the pub, the other in the conservatory was next to the busy WC with one chair broken) and managed to negotiate a larger table with view of the charming garden.
My starter of thick triangles of feta and watermelon with red onion salad and a basil vinagrette was crudely presented and unaccountably tasteless; the insubstantial “seafood “cassoulet” main comprised slightly overcooked white fish (skin on) and scallops with mini chorizo cubes and a scattering of baby broad beans in deep bowl of tasty broth. For me the culinary highlight was the delicious but diminutive bakewell tart, although my husband enjoyed all his three choices; Chicken Ceasar Salad, lamb main course and Eton Mess. The bill including £28 for an excellent Italian Pinot Grigio was £86.
The Swan at Swinbrook should beware of taking its many, well heeled customers for granted. It cannot trade on it’s history and environment alone. A little charm and finesse could have elevated our experience from perfunctory to pleasant and generated a positive review.