The Swan - Swineford
Well, there was no need to travel to the Alps last week. A monumental winter storm derived from Siberia, coined; 'The Beast from the East,' recently swept over large parts of the UK. We experienced blizzards, sub-zero temperatures and snow deep enough to tempt out skiers and snowboarders!
Whilst drawing the blinds on Friday morning, I had to do a double take when I spotted a guy skiing along the street! Needless to say, Bath was a shimmering vision of endless white, whether you liked it or not! I couldn't wait to wrap up in my warmest clothes and venture out for a walk whilst the snow fell thick and fast around me. I imagined I'd stepped into the world of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. No surprises then, that I was pretty keen to seek out the magical land of Narnia that awaited me in Royal Victoria Park that afternoon!
However, the downside to all of the snow meant driving conditions were treacherous. For Scott, Winnie and I, this meant having to cancel our lunch date on Saturday at The Swan in Swineford. Set in rural surroundings, and only a 10 minute drive from the centre of Bath, this delightful dog-friendly country pub invited me over to review their newly revamped menu. But, alas! We couldn't get there!
However, we got in touch and postponed our booking to the following day. Thankfully, we were able to safely venture from Bath and wind our way over to Swineford to enjoy a tasty Sunday lunch instead.
Little did we know that our lunch, which began at noon and finished close to 2pm, would turn into a whole afternoon spent waiting for the AA to come and fix our car! You may have spotted from my most recent photo on Instagram, that I mentioned this blog post would have an eventful twist to it. Well here it is! One broken down car, one husband and wife, one puppy on its first proper outing, and an entire afternoon spent trying to kill time!
If a country pub is bursting at the seams with dog walkers, families and couples all enjoying themselves, you know you've stumbled across a popular haunt. Upon our (first!) arrival, we were taken to a reserved table next to a roaring fire in the bar (the best seat in the house according to one regular who stood ordering a drink beside us). It is worth noting that the pub welcomes dogs (you may have already gathered that) but in the bar area only. A full menu is served here, as well as in the restaurant next door. So whether you are a dog lover or not, there are both options available to you.
Just a side note here, but I'd like to mention that when we returned after discovering our car would not start up, we were grateful at how accommodating the staff were to find us seats (this perfect spot below), even though the pub was packed.
Right, I feel I have sidetracked quite enough now. Back to our cosy corner in the restaurant, and a table for three!
The Swan were keen for me to try their delicious new menu. However, now that we were dining on a Sunday, the menu was a little more restricted. I was sorry not to try their new dishes, but what awaited us instead was a glorious Sunday roast, much to Winnie's approval!
We opted for a starter and a main each, whilst Winnie was treated to some dog biscuits from a jar at the bar.
Coming in from the cold and seeing the fire hiss and pop was just the kind of welcome you long for when you visit a pub on a wintry day!
It wasn't long before we were settling down to a hearty feast.
Oh my word. Scott's starter was the sort of dish you wish came by the bucket load! He tried the 'Beer Battered Whitebait, Tartare Emulsion' (£6.25). The batter was light, crisp and gorgeously golden.
Meanwhile, the food envy didn't stop there. I was more than satisfied with my first course, which Scott looked longingly at too. 'Crab Arancini, Tarragon Mayonnaise and Dressed Leaves' (£8.25).
In-between courses we took turns to give Winnie a little walk outdoors in the grounds to stretch her legs and expel some energy.
Perfect timing to return with a tired puppy :)
I chose the 'Roast leg of Lamb, Mint Sauce' (£15.00) served with roast potatoes, braised carrot, roasted parsnips, red cabbage and a medley of seasonal greens. I was delighted with my choice. The lamb was perfectly moist and tender and the vegetables caramelised and sweet.
Opposite me, Scott dived into the 'Rare Roast Topside of Beef, Yorkshire Pudding' which was also accompanied with the same tasty trimmings as above.
As we sat and enjoyed our lunch, Winnie's admirers came and went whilst a relentless downpour replaced our snowscape from the previous days.
Fortunately, there was a break in the rain just as we were settling the bill, so out came the camera and a few shots outdoors.
We thought we didn't have room for something sweet. But when you have an additional 3 hours to spare, oh trust me, you do! Back indoors we went, coffee ordered, desserts on their way...
A 'Vanilla Panna Cotta with Shortbread and Peanut Brittle' (£5.95) No matter whether I am invited to review a menu or I am heading their unbeknownst to the restaurant, I always promise to post my honest opinions on my blog. My dessert here didn't quite live up to my expectations sadly. The panna cotta had a good wobble, and the peanut brittle could break your teeth, but the shortbread component was somewhat non-existent and green garnish looked like a bit of an afterthought. All in all, a bit of a disappointing dish compared to my previous two courses.
Scott's 'Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce and Caramel Ice Cream' (£5.95) faired better. The portion of cake was generous and the toffee sauce tasted rich and luxurious.
The further, unintended hours passed by pretty quickly, and we were just so thankful not to be stationed perilously at the side of a motorway with cars hurtling past us. Winnie caught a few extra winks that afternoon too. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining :)
We would like to say thank you to Sally and all the staff at The Swan for their hospitality and generosity. We look forward to returning with our dog friendly friends, in the not too distant future!
Do take a look at The Swan over here, and reserve your seats soon; a perfect Mother's Day treat after a family walk in the countryside, I'd say!