My partner and I were boating on the Thames and had planned to stop at Hampton Court, but unable to find a mooring we stopped at Walton-on-Thames instead, as we had never visited the town before.
Being a Saturday night we thought we had better book at table. There are two pubs on the river, next to each other. The first was The Anglers and the other The Swan. We first tried The Anglers, which appeared to have the better reputation and a more exciting menu. Sadly the staff were incredibly rude and surly and we walked out and booked at The Swan instead for 8pm.
This is a traditional old pub with a large outside area overlooking the Thames, bar and dining room. In honesty, the dining area is open to the bar and there was a lot of ambient noise but it was 8pm on a sunny Saturday night so hardly surprising.
We were greeted promptly, welcomed and shown to a nice table. Our waiter (Steph) promptly took our drinks orders and brought the menus. Steph was great throughout the meal and was a tremendous ambassador for the restaurant - if the owner or manager reads this review, please take note and pass on our thanks for very good service.
The menu to be honest was a bit limited and not overly exciting, though there were plenty of things we were happy to order, though little new. I started with tempura quid with chilli dipping sauce; it was very good although the dipping sauce was excellent. My partner had whitebait. Again, this was good but there is little that can go wrong with frying whitebait.
For our mains I had a sirloin with tripple cooked chips, mushrooms and roasted tomatoes and peppercorn sauce. Steve had a burger topped with pulled pork. The burger was good and the chips were excellent. My steak was of good quality but quite thin and sadly overcooked (I ordered medium rare and it was closer to well done). Personally I would have preferred to pay more and had a choice of fillet or even a decent thickness of sirloin, but despite being over cooked it was good value and I enjoyed it. We had a bottle of Rioja with our main course.
Puddings were again fairly standard but done well. I had sticky toffee pudding and salted caramel ice cream and Steve had chocolate brownie cheesecake, which was excellent.
In the end I think our bill was just over £100 which we thought very good for three courses, arrival drinks and a bottle of nice Rioja. A bit more choice and a few more higher end wines to choose from would be nice, but we both had a nice evening and we would certainly return.
In conclusion, we often visit restaurants and we wonder why people have rated them so highly. In the case of The Swan I was surprised to read so many critical comments and poor marks. From our (admittedly limited) experience they deserve better.
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