The Swan

119 Acton Lane, London, England, W4 5HH, United Kingdom

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The Swan is a neighbourhood pub in Chiswick with a reputation for better food than one might expect. The wine list was printed on the back of the menu and had over 30 choices, all under £30, and mark-ups were fair. The pleasant Rioja Reserva Vina Izado 2003 was listed at £29 for a wine that will set you back around £14 in the shops, while the capable Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay 2008 was £30 yet will cost you £16 retail. Even the Louis Roederer champagne is £40 for a bottle that will cost you at least £26 in the shops, and can be around £38 at some places.

Penne pasta (£7.50) was served with a ragu of Italian sausage, tomatoes, oregano and a little cream; the sauce was pleasantly rich and the pasta had good texture (12/20). Orecchiette (pasta from Puglia shaped like an ear) also had nice texture ((£7), served with sautéed greens, chill and garlic, the sauce having a pleasing chilli kick (12/20). For main course, salmon and dill fishcakes (£13.50) were served on a bed of wilted spinach with a paprika Hollandaise, but did not have enough taste of either salmon or dill (11/20). My corn-fed chicken breast (£13.50) was rather over-cooked, served with pleasant carrots, parsnips and roast potatoes, the dish being partially rescued by an enjoyable spicy cranberry relish (just about 11/20). Desserts perked the meal up: tarte tatin (£4.50) was cooked a little long for my taste, but had reasonable pastry, and the apples were cooked through nicely (12/20). Better was a very good tiramisu (£4.50), which was moist and had strong coffee flavour (13/20).

Service was pretty basic: the place does not seem to have quite made up its mind whether it is a pub serving a bit of food or a real gastropub as implied by its web-site. It was surprising to have to order the food at the bar, even though we had a reservation (this is itself was a fairly chaotic experience), and although the food was brought to the table that was the extent of the service. Overall the cooking was between 11/20 and 12/20, and certainly a pleasant enough experience.


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