I generally know I’m on to a winner when I book into a place in London that calls itself a ‘gastropub‘. And the White Swan in Holborn is no exception.
After a fabulous night sipping bubbles at the launch of London’s first authentic cava bar, Copa de Cava, the boy took me to this stylish but homely place on Fetter Lane for a spot of midweek dinner.
Interior wise it’s a warmly-lit haven with golden and dark coloured wooden bannisters and beams. The mandatory gastropub chalk boards also lure you in with sumptuous sounding wines. On a winter’s night, its these kind of pubs you just don’t want to leave.
Walking past stag heads and up a stairwell adorned with A LOT of framed pictures of birds, we entered the plush first floor dining room of white table cloths, moody lighting and a vast mirrored ceiling.
Tip number one – when booking into the White Swan, don’t mistake it like we did for the White Swan in Farringdon. While I haven’t been to it, we caused the waitress much confusion before realising we’d mistakenly made a reservation at this other White Swan just a few miles down the road.
Luckily, she very kindly made space for us to sit down and we ordered a couple of glasses of wine.
The wine list at The White Swan in Holborn is pretty good actually.
Although the majority is obviously by the bottle, you’ll get at least one ‘by the glass’ option from each country. And with French, Chilean, Australian, Argentinean, German, Italian and USA to choose from, that’s not bad at all (especially as I often go for the white and Mr OhSo always goes for red).
Had we not had an evening of canopes and fizz earlier we’d have indulged in their very tempting starter menu. Instead we jumped straight to mains and ordered the Belly cheek and trotter of Tamworth Pork and the Herdwick Lamb rump.
But before that came we were presented with this delightful ‘Amuse Bouche’ – on a little slate – what a lovely surprise.
As for the mains, here we go – a feast for the eyes.
The pork was a wonderful mix of pork three ways, beautifully fresh al dente vegetables and buttery, seasoned new potatoes.
I wasn’t brave enough to try the trotter but the other half confirmed it was Oh So amazing!
As for the lamb rump, it was just a plate of deliciousness. I don’t normally go for lamb (I’m a bit of a fish fiend when I go out as we don’t often cook it at home).
But I was sold by the blend with minted broad beans and potato croquettes. The portions were small but surprisingly filling and the meat was cooked beautifully.
The beans? Well subtly minty and a great texture contrast with the smooth schmear of shallot puree. There was a bit of cabbage on the plate too and some meaty bread crumbed lamb balls.
Top marks for flavour, texture and colours!
What I like about The White Swan is the chic yet laid back ambience and the way that it’s tucked away down the little road off Holborn that is Fetter Lane still attracts the after-work buzz.
Now I’m half way down the page I’ve also forgotten to tell you about the bread. Oh the bread!
It seems ridiculous to talk about bread next to such wonderful plates of gastropub food. But yes, the basket of warm fresh bread rolls they bring to you before the meal with delicious pots of butter is, funnily enough, something to write home about (in our eyes anyway). Before we got there I said to my other half ‘remember that bread? Oh I hope they have that bread!’
If you go, tell me what you think about it. But I just think it’s another detail that makes this place a winner.
We didn’t go for dessert. (I know, boring.) But we were trying to be good and these great dishes truly were enough for a week night bite to eat.
For date night, after work dinner with friends or whatever, I’d truly recommend The White Swan. They also do a less formal pub menu downstairs which is great too.
So do book your table now – just remember to book the right one! (or if you go to the Farringdon one, let me know if it’s worth shouting about).
Until next time x
The White Swan, 108 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1ES,
0207 242 9696