2013-07-17 11.50.35 HDR

The Swan Restaurant is situated in, funny enough, Swan Street, in the Kent market town, West Malling. It has recently been closed for a week for a complete refurbishment.
Built in the 15th Century and recently lovingly renovated by its present owners in 2,000, the inn has a colourful history.
Charles Dickens visited the coaching inn. He actually mentioned it in The Pickwick Papers.
The Cascade Waterfall, across the road, was famously painted by JMW Turner. Maybe he popped into The Swan for a pint or two!front of building
During WW11, servicemen based at West Malling Airfield used the inn as their local. As Guy Gibson, the famous spitfire pilot, was in the area, he almost definitely drank there too.
After the war, there was a separate billiard room where only serious players were allowed in.
In 1952 when the Swan became a listed building, it was discovered that there had been a late Medieval open hall at the front of the building.
Now the re-designed Swan Restaurant can seat 75 diners downstairs, and another 70 outside in the Summer.

IMG_05.prep
Upstairs are three more dining rooms with a private bar and the use of the Library, as it’s known, for pre-dinner drinks. I loved the recycled wood furniture there. Very eye-catching!
Outside is a large paved garden, with plenty of room for a marquee. In fact, they had one fitted there for New Year’s Eve. It easily seats 70 there in the Summer.
Hubby John and I went there to eat recently, taking our vegan daughter Rana and her food-loving boyfriend Dom.
Eating out can be very limited for Rana. She enjoys her food. She just doesn’t eat anything from animals.

skate-wing

skate-wing

We had phoned to say we were coming and the chef had prepared some special dishes for Rana. He had actually enjoyed the chance to show off his talents, and really gone to a lot of effort!
Our daughter was highly impressed and she said they were all really yummy!
I was excited to find a Slovenian wine on the list. The Slovenians produce some excellent wines, but it’s unusual to fine them on a wine list, which is a shame.
There was a choice of two non-alcoholic cocktails for Rana, who was the driver for the evening.
Elderflower Blossom, with apple, raspberry puree, elderflower liqueur, pressed lime, mint and soda.

cured-salmon

cured-salmon

Orange, Ginger & Agave Presse; pressed orange & lemon, ginger, & agave nectar.
What a good, but a simple idea! Why don’t more pubs and restaurants do that? Someone usually has to drive, and there’s a limit to the number of fizzy drinks or thick fruit juice that you can drink! Apart from that, the only choice is water. So well done, Swan!
While we waited, we were given an appetiser cup of white onion soup.
I do enjoy it when unexpected little extras arriveto keep us occupied!
For starters, John had the pumpkin soup, which he said was an absolutely perfect soup, and he made us all try it.

apple-tart-tatin

apple-tart-tatin

Dom had quail breast with mushroom tortellini and butternut squash, which he didn’t offer to share! I didn’t like to ask as he was obviously enjoying it so much.
Rana had pumpkin and chickpea croquettes, and I had the twice baked cheese soufflé with celeriac and apple puree.
The presentation was all very attractive and colourful
I liked the use of different crockery, which showed off the dishes very well.
My one criticism, because nothing’s perfect, is that some of the dishes served were luke-warm. Food must be piping hot, especially if it’s been prepared earlier and re-heated.
For the main course, Rana had her special dish, and Dom had fish and chips. The haddock was Curious Brew beer-battered, which made a very light, crisp batter. The chips were chunky and perfectly-fried. It was served with mushy peas.
John had eight-hour braised ox cheek which just fell apart, and I had absolutely gorgeous local lamb, with smoked aubergine and a generous helping of green sauce. I do like my sauces!
My one criticism, because nothing’s perfect, is that some of the dishes served were luke-warm. Food must be piping hot, especially if it’s been prepared earlier and re-heated.
It was mainly the vegetable dishes, so maybe a new young chef needed to be checked for a while, but there was a good selection. We ordered mashed potato, mange tout with shallots, and curly kale with toasted almonds.
Of course, Rana loved them all!

Swan74
I really enjoyed my apple and cranberry crumble, served in a tiny saucepan with custard. Sorry, I mean vanilla sauce!
And, yes, it was nice and hot.
I had a dessert wine with it; a Moscato from Venice. The sweetness and the crumble complimented each other very well, without over-bearing each other’s flavour.
Rana had a selection of sorbets, and John and Dom had the Gypsy Tart, served with bee pollen ice cream and honeycomb. They both said it was gorgeous! Neither of them offed to share it with me.

Swan78
All the staff were friendly, professional and on the ball all the time. I’d give them 10/10 for their service. Yes, there are lots of pubs and restaurants around with friendly staff, (and lots with unfriendly staff!) but it’s very rare to find highly-trained professionalism like that in a local pub!
I asked Darryl the chef what his aim was.

cafe

cafe

He said it was to serve mainly British and traditional French cookery, all using locally sourced seasonal produce.

brasserie

brasserie

They like to have an atmosphere and ambience, and to create a Neighbourhood and Community spirit, having happy local regular customers.
It was great to discover high-quality food and service in the country, using local, fresh ingredients instead of just Pub Grub. We’d strongly recommend The Swan to anyone.
It’s well worth the journey travelling to eat there.

the-garden

the-garden

The Swan
35 Swan Street
West Malling
Kent
ME19 6JU
01732 521910

darryl@theswanwm.co.uk

 

www.theswanwestmalling.co.uk

 

Swan external

Swan external