A drive through the Oxfordshire countryside is taking us to The Swan Inn located in the small but almost perfectly formed Cotswold village of Swinbrook. We arrive to find a busy but relaxed pub that looks as though it places some importance on the business of providing food for its customers. The whole scene is improved further when we are soon joined by our friends, Jasmine and Roland, or Jazz & Roll for short.
It is unusual when we are dining with friends for no-one to choose a starter or a meat dish – but that is what happens today. I select the pan fried hake with slow roast tomatoes and green beans. It is served in a circle of piquant flavoured green olives and walnut pesto that works really well with the perfectly cooked hake. Jazz and Roll both spot the whole grilled plaice with baby carrots, cucumber, new potatoes and herb oil and both are very happy with their choice. Rock enjoys the fishcake sited on a bed of salad leaves and surrounded by a herb & mustard seed mayonnaise.
No starters, no meat and now almost no dessert! However, after asking about the Affogato, I am unable to resist! As usual it is a strong shot of espresso coffee served with vanilla ice cream but, here they serve an extra special ingredient that makes all the difference, a walnut liqueur! I am now in the ‘wow’ zone. Rock n’Roll and Jazz share a board of cheeses from different regions that includes: Cornish Yarg; Oxford Blue; Montgomery Cheddar; Stinking Bishop; and Cerney goat’s cheese. All the cheeses are really well-kept and good quality.
Fabulous fish, outstanding Affogato, fine cheese all enjoyed with good friends. We will try at least one starter and at least one meat course next time we are in the neighbourhood of The Swan….. and there will be a next time!