It always seems to be the way that you find a local pub or restaurant serving fantastic food, but for some reason you just don’t seem to go back for ages. We last had dinner at The Swan Inn, Hanley Swan back in May 2017, and I couldn’t say enough about how superb the food was. Still it wasn’t until 8 months later that we found ourselves driving back from Malvern looking for some lunch, that we’d remembered we hadn’t since returned to The Swan.
We called ahead late afternoon to say we were 15 minutes away, and there was no problem at all with them fitting us in for lunch. When we walked into the pub I instantly remembered why I’d liked it here so much. The décor is so homely and welcoming without being too formal. Dogs are welcome in the bar area where local people are enjoying their drinks, and there is a separate lounge area for diners. Last time we sat in the newly converted conservatory, but this time we found a table in the cosier part of the restaurant where most other diners were finishing their lunch.
The low light was shining brightly through the window, so please excuse the shadows on my photos, although I’m sure you’ll agree that the food still looks delicious! Mr R chose a lighter starter for us to share. The Cornish crab (£8.50) had the wow factor and was plentiful with enough for us both to get a good taste of everything on the plate. The crab meat was undeniably fresh and great care had been taken to present the dish perfectly, despite our late arrival. This dish was a real winner for us and just enough to share before a heavier main course at lunch.
Sandwiches, baguettes and wraps are served from 12 noon until 2:30pm Monday to Friday and we’d ordered just in time for a beef sarnie (available noon-5:30pm on the weekends). £7.75 buys you thick slices of rare breed longhorn Cotswold beef, sandwiched between chunky doorstop bread, with onion relish and some of The Swan’s tasty homemade crisps on the side. Here’s where you decide if you would rather pay a little more for quality ingredients, or if you just want some beef and buttered bread. The choice is yours.
£15 may sound expensive for a burger, but this isn’t your average pub grub. In fact this is the best pub burger I think I’ve had, certainly within the past couple of years. This burger comes with all of the trimmings, but does not detract in taste or meatiness. The bbq pulled pork is not overflowing outside of the bun (which is toasted perfectly by the way), its purpose is to add flavour and texture, not to make it ‘dirty’ or gimmicky. If you like your gherkins (I sure do), great as there’s a heap of them on the side so you can take them or leave them.
The fries are thin and crispy, as fries should be or they have no place with a burger. Even the salad garnish is a proper salad with cheesy bits crumbled in and a dressing you actually want to eat. The beef patty itself is homemade, super thick and chargrilled with a juicy middle. I’m not even sure how to describe the flavour now, but to my taste it was just right. A pricey burger maybe, but worth every penny if you ask me.
Pastry chef Ben had tipped me off to say that although the fondant (£8) was off the menu, he could make us one if we could wait whilst the oven heated back up. We decided what the heck and decided to hang round. We’d sampled the chocolate pud the last time we were at The Swan, so knew it was going to be worth sticking around for. The mountain of spongey chocolate arrived and in went my fork, exposing the oozy hot chocolate lava. A mouthful of cold ice cream cleansed the palette ready for a fresh hit of the rich chocolate, which also had a hint of orange.
We raved about our lunch to my Mum and Dad when we next saw them, who coincidentally were waiting to tell us about the excellent dinner they’d had just the evening before at The Swan. I totally forgot to fill out the form they left at the table to get a discount off our next meal. Make sure you do, and also sign up for the newsletter for more offers and more.
Cost: £39.25 (food only)
1 Starters, 2 main course, 1 dessert
Hanley Swan, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in January 2018
Food hygiene rating – 3/5 generally satisfactory – date of last inspection 11th January 2017