The White Swan: Hidden Gastropub of Holborn

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.

The white swan, Holborn, LondonI’ve been here before for a private party, had a catch up dinner with friends as a treat, and as we discovered, it’s perfect for a midweek date night too.

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.

The white swan, Holborn, LondonThis time round, it was a mild May night but that wouldn’t put me off their hearty gastropub menu.

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).

Amuse bouche at The White Swan, Holborn, LondonHad 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.

Belly, cheek and trotter of pork

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).

Lamb rump, minted broad beans, potato croquettes and shallot puree

Lamb rump, minted broad beans, potato croquettes & shallot puree

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

White swan logo

The White Swan, 108 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1ES,

0207 242 9696


  1. 31st May 2013 / 8:15 pm

    Great review and post. Will have to check this place out.

  2. 1st June 2013 / 11:15 am

    Thank you. Yes do check it out. Perfect place to take friends for something a little special. Let me know if you agree!

  3. 3rd June 2013 / 9:56 am

    Great pub restaurant but don’t get lost; it’s off Holborn not Chancery Lane (Chancery is parallel to Fetter). Wine list is expensive for a pub but about what you’d expect for restaurant prices, and as the author says; the food is worth it. Sister gastropub the Well (St John St) doesn’t have a dedicated restaurant but is also a good bet if the Swan is full. A bit cheaper too…

    • 3rd June 2013 / 10:39 am

      Yes, you’re right to point that out and I’ve made amends so as not to confuse anyone more so thanks for that Craig! You’re right, the wine is a little pricier than your average upmarket pub but definitely worth it if you’re wanting to treat yourself. Or do as we did and just buy a glass each. I haven’t been to the Well. WIll have to check it out…. thanks for your feedback