Selected Restaurant

Swan Inn at Denham, The

Village Road, Denham, nr Gerrards Cross, UB9 5BH

In the great pub evolution there have, as always, been winners and losers. The weak have gone to the wall, the strong have survived, and the newcomers have led the renaissance. The emergence of modest groupings of revitalised pubs has brought some real stars, of which The Swan Inn is undoubtedly one, a verdict supported by the award of Bucks Dining Pub of the Year in The Good Pub Guide 2008, also shortlisted in the Morning Advertiser's Top 20 Pubs '08 in the country. Winning the prestigious Les Routiers Gastro Pub of the Year in 2011 is another feather in the cap. The advantages of the Georgian double-fronted wisteria-covered building have been skilfully combined with new ideas, modern management with heart, and an adherence to being British that borders on patriotism.

In the great pub evolution there have, as always, been winners and losers. The weak have gone to the wall, the strong have survived, and the newcomers have led the renaissance. The emergence of modest groupings of revitalised pubs has brought some real stars, of which The Swan Inn is undoubtedly one, a verdict supported by the award of Bucks Dining Pub of the Year in The Good Pub Guide 2008, also shortlisted in the Morning Advertiser's Top 20 Pubs '08 in the country. Winning the prestigious Les Routiers Gastro Pub of the Year in 2011 is another feather in the cap.

The advantages of the Georgian double-fronted wisteria-covered building have been skilfully combined with new ideas, modern management with heart, and an adherence to being British that borders on patriotism. Character and atmosphere is there in abundance. In winter a large log fire is the centrepiece of a warmth that has both physical and human form aplenty. Every so often one comes across a pub whose regulars and visitors pay no heed to matters of status but get on with enjoying each others company, and the Swan is strongly of that ilk.

The fact that all this is to be found only a few miles from the London suburbs and two motorways should be a cause of delight to people for whom life is too short to bother about such trivialities as status. Equally as encouraging is the quality of the menu fielded by Head Chef Mark Snelling, with an emphasis on simple, stylish dishes that lack any fussiness and palaver. Start your meal with the aid of an eclectic range of choices that open with rustic breads with slow roast garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or sautéed duck livers and hearts with crispy bacon, dandelion leaves and gooseberries. For bubble and squeak enthusiasts the Swan version has oak smoked bacon, free range poached egg and Hollandaise sauce astride it.

On, then, to the main event, some nine in number and changing when the season allows, with more than an eye lifted for the classic braised lemon and thyme ?Label Anglais? free range chicken with sweet potato fondant and broad bean broth, or the char-grilled 21-day aged British rib-eye steak with roast garlic butter and hand-cut chips. Side orders are like a refreshing gale blowing through the halls of lassitude which we exhibit in this country towards the proper presentation of vegetables. Baked cauliflower cheese with brioche crumb, sweet corn and spring onion fritters with chilli jam, or lemon buttered samphire - it doesn't come much better.

Meanwhile back in the sous chef department what stirs? Enough to rapidly dissolve any thoughts of being up to the brim, starting with rhubarb, ginger and polenta crumble with vanilla custard, vanilla crème brûlée with strawberry compôte, or chocolate pana cotta with violet ice cream. Of such treats are the dreams of Brits stuck in some desert hell-hole made.

To be able to finish on a high note is always a pleasure, though in truth writing about The Swan Inn has at no time been anything but a pleasure. This concerns that sometimes neglected department known as the wine list where the best efforts of good chefs are occasionally scuppered. Here there is a list which considering its relative brevity - sometimes seen as an advantage by wives and less than well informed husbands - produces a selection of great breadth, incredible pricing with few bottles straying above the £30 mark, and good credible choices under £20, with plenty of by-the-glass numbers, and a collection of pudding wines that will gladden the hearts of those so inclined.

So really there is absolutely no excuse for not making an early visit to this charming pub with restaurant, where all needs are met and where Robbie Burns himself would have been at ease. Consult their Website for all the latest on-goings, including menu changes that stalk the seasons.

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English, Gastropub, Modern British

: 12:00 - 14:30 18:30 - 21:30
: 12:00 - 14:30 18:30 - 22:00
: 12:00 - 15:00 18:30 - 22:00
: 12:00 - 16:00 18:30 - 21:30

Reservations: 01895 832085

Click here to visit

Village Road, Denham, nr Gerrards Cross, UB9 5BH [Map]

£30.00    £30.00

(Avg Price is the average cost per person for two courses, coffee, half a bottle of house wine and tip/service)

REVIEWS OF Swan Inn at Denham, The

Tina and Mark Hall (26 November 2009)

Lovely! We have been there as a couple, with friends and with our daughter. As a couple you can lose yourself - great atmosphere without being uncomfortable, a great treat, a superb menu and time to enjoy. With friends, it's great to share and enjoy the wine selection and desserts. With our daughter, they cater for anything. She loves her food, not just nugget and chips. Great garden and relaxed atmosphere — I would recommend to everyone.

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