On a gloriously sunny day in August Geoff and I went for a walk using the Fancy Free Walks website which we find are always very good, we don’t seem to get lost. Geoff had chosen one which started at Bramshott Common car park in Surrey and almost ended at a pub, which looked good but I already had one in mind close by in Chiddingfold, The Swan Inn.
The walk was lovely with tons of fungi everywhere and for some strange reason I’ve always liked them – to look at, photograph and to eat. We had booked a table for 1pm but with all the photos I was taking it was looking as if we might not make it but Chiddingfold is only about three miles down the road from the car park and so we made it just in time. As it was so hot and sunny everyone was in the garden so we opted to do the same. “Make hay while the sun shines” as they say. We found a table which was partially in the shade but soon it would be in full sun and we’d be roasting. We looked around for someone who may be leaving. Once we’d ordered our drinks, a glass of Marlborough for me, a beer for Geoff and some bread & olives to share, we noticed a couple leaving so quickly upped sticks and sat under a very large parasol which covered several tables.
The garden is beautifully kept, with lots of tables, a pear tree bearing several large fruit, bushes, trees and pots of flowers.
I’m not a great fan of olives and there’s only so many one can eat but I must admit that they were very tasty olives and the fruity bread was very fresh, this was accompanied by a small bowl of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
I ordered a crayfish and avocado salad which was very well presented – this you could have as a starter or a larger option as a main which I had. It also came with a handful of crushed crisps on top which was slightly unusual but nice all the same. I was slightly worried that the crisps would become soggy which I hate, but they didn’t, I think I ate them so quickly they didn’t have to become so. The salad consisted of a good assortment of salad leaves, slices of avo’ and plenty of crayfish. The lemon & lime dressing was divine (funny, I could have sworn it was an orange dressing for some reason and I found a recipe online which I copied when I got home to put on my own salads). I really enjoyed the salad.
A side plate of courgette chips were served in a small tin bucket and were also very fresh and tasty, even Geoff liked them – he can be fussy.
Geoff had the fish & chips which he said was really good, the best he’s had for a while with good quality batter – and yes, we have tried local (to us) and newly opened Fisherman’s Kitchen in Southsea, of which we were a little disappointed and so probably won’t return. Has anyone else been and what did you think?
For dessert I had the fantastic tasting lemon posset with greengage compote served with two light and crispy lavender biscuits. The lemon posset was creamy and smooth, the compote was divine and the biscuits were too, I love lavender biscuits.
Geoff had the date sponge pudding which came with lashings of caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. He enjoyed his dessert too, he called it ‘the star of the show’.
An espresso for each of us came with a biscotti biscuit of which I loved but Geoff doesn’t like aniseed and this had either that or something similar in it – I told you he was fussy.
Everything at the Swan Inn is homemade, the lavender biscuits, biscotti, the ice-cream, compote etc., and the meat and veg’ come from local suppliers.
Well, we just had to return to the Swan Inn didn’t we? We did, only five days later in fact.
Geoff took an impromptu day off work as the weather was forecast to be lovely again, this was now September after the wonderful August bank holiday weather we’d all enjoyed. The stupid weatherman got it wrong and we had to shelter from the rain two or three times, thankfully this new walk was mostly in woods or country lanes with overhanging trees either side so we didn’t get too wet. Not so many mushrooms around on this walk which was strange as it was in the same area and as we hadn’t booked a table this occasion we had plenty of time.
Because of the weather we took a table inside. The decor is lovely, I believe they reopened in January this year after a refurbishment. There are three rooms in which to dine, we were in the main room with the bar, there was another called the library and I forget the other rooms name but all looked comfortable and there was a nice ambience about the whole place.
We ordered the bread and olives but this time without the olives and asked for perhaps a couple more slices of bread instead. This was fine, no problem. The bread was super tasty again, focaccia this time.
Geoff decided to have something different on this visit, sausages and mash with a rich gravy, I had a taste and it was oh so good!
I enjoyed the salad so much last time that I ordered it again. Still very very good but this time with uncrushed crisps.
Geoff also went for the same pudding which didn’t have quite so much sauce on this occasion. I stupidly went for something different although truthfully I really wanted the lemon posset. I went for the peanut butter parfait instead. Godammit, I should have gone with my instincts! Although the dessert was nice, it wasn’t a patch on the lemon posset. Served upon a slate was a frozen peanut butter parfait, which was tasty enough and a couple of thin squares of raspberry jelly and a very nice salted caramel & walnut brittle.
The staff were all very efficient and friendly on both visits. The Swan Inn is a boutique hotel too, the rooms look lovely and would, I imagine, be a nice place to stay. Chiddingfold is a lovely little country village with pubs, a butcher shop, tearoom and a village shop which we bought a lottery ticket in as we were ‘feeling lucky’ and if we’d won the 5 million pound jackpot that evening we would have bought a house in the village, needless to say we’re still living in Pompey and will be doing so for quite a while 😀 .
The Swan Inn are part of the Upham Brewery group, of which we have reviewed a few including The Wheelwright’s Arms in Havant, The Thomas Lord in East Meon and The White Hart in South Harting – which we like in that order, with The Swan Inn coming first.
Return? Yes indeed!
Living life, loving the Swan Inn!