The Loddon Swan

My husband and I were invited to The Loddon Swan recently – they hosted a Jubilee fish supper, and were kind enough to reach out to us. It’s somewhere that we’ve been wanting to try for a while and, considering the AA gave it four stars as a boutique hotel and two rosettes as a restaurant, we were thrilled to know we were finally going.

The restaurant itself is beautiful – a red brick building with sharp white window frames and an imposing door. Inside, the pub has the aesthetic of a traditional British pub – beams, a wooden bar, and a homely atmosphere. We really liked the added touch of having hop plants on the beams – it really added something nice to the ambience!

We arrived at half-past six in the evening and were immediately made to feel welcome. From the point of stepping in, Kelly white (General Manager) and her team were kind and sweet, making us feel like we’d stepped into an old friend’s house.

We were booked for seven, so we went and sat in the beer garden for a little while – the evening sun and their amazing drinks made the time fly.

Before eating, we were joined by Andrew Freeland, who’s the proprietor of the pub. We didn’t talk too much with him, but he was warm and inviting – from just a quick chat my husband and I felt like we’d made a new friend!

We went upstairs to eat in the dining room, and it is a truly lovely room. Decorated in tasteful French grey with exposed beams and brickwork from the Georgian property, it felt relaxing and up-market at the same time.

When we started to order, we were told that everything is locally sourced, from the vegetables to the meat, and everything in between. We’re always impressed by this since it means that the place you’re eating has taken real care to track down the best version of whatever ingredients they’re using. While it may seem like a small thing, a great restaurant will do incredible things with great produce.

To start with, my husband and I had the chargrilled asparagus and the smoked mackerel pate. These were both really tasty options!

The smoked mackerel pate was a straightforward dish, and because of that, it made the entire plate more amazing. The simple ingredients were prepared really well, which led to an amazing combination.

The chargrilled asparagus sounded like something a little complex on the menu – it is served with brown shrimp buerre noisette, capers, and dill oil. Never people to back down from something interesting, though, we ordered, and we were glad we did. The gentle bitterness of the asparagus was incredible, especially when combined with the crispy texture of the capers and the sharp notes of the dill.

My husband and I both had fish as our main since that was rather the point of the evening. We ordered the chargrilled monkfish and the whole lemon sole.

Both fish dishes were lovely – succulent, as well seasoned. The sides were fantastic, too! The monkfish came with coriander and chilli potatoes, which were utterly amazing – aromatic and hot in a really interesting way. The sole, however, came with samphire and cockles and proved that the phrase ‘what grows together goes together’ is completely true.

To finish, I had the rhubarb and strawberry tart, which was served with a fig and mascarpone ice cream. The thing that really impressed me about it was that the ingredients were so simple that putting them together really shouldn’t have made much difference.

However, while the ingredients were simple, they were incredibly high quality. This meant that the combination of them was like nothing I’d had before – really incredible!

As a final note, I want to say a good word about the wine – we had the Rioja, which was somehow both rich and delicately well-balanced. I’ve thought about it ever since! We really loved the food here, and we can’t wait to go back.

You can check out The Loddon Swan here

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