It is no secret that the Foxy team like a bit of food; in fact you could say we are a little obsessed from fine dining to street food. We love a good gastro pub as much as we love a pop-up, we are equally at home in a bistro as a burger joint. When we heard that one of our favourite Sunday boltholes was having a refurbishment we just had to go and take a look. The Swan in Old Amersham has been a place of sanctuary for my family on many a weekend and my children always say it is the best place locally for a Sunday lunch. Keen to see what has been going on down there we popped down yesterday afternoon for a little look.
Mr Foxy and I had just been to the cinema to see Guardians 2 (which deserves a blog all to itself) so we were excited at the thought of not cooking and being treated to a dinner (at this point I will admit I rarely cook on a Sunday as Mr Foxy is a bit of a chef). As we parked we immediately noticed all of the work that has gone into refurbishing the outside of the pub. The rear is a stunning addition! Ample seating and lighting with a fabulous fire-pit. I can imagine some great evenings here in the Summer enjoying a crisp glass of Pinot with my friends!
As we went into the pub, given that it was just before 5, we were surprised that is was absolutely heaving! The pub only re-opened last Wednesday following it’s extensive refurbishment so word must have got around quickly and there was an abundance of families and couples all enjoying their Sunday afternoon!
We went to the restaurant side where we met Daniel, the GM of this fine establishment. He greeted us with a warm smile and enthusiasm and seated us immediately. Now given that this gentlemen has been on hyper for the past 3 weeks whilst his vision has become a reality, he was decidedly chipper! If this was me I think my tiredness would have overtaken however he was lovely and obviously happy that all the works were complete and he had his pub back to run. Daniel has overseen the new look and it is rather tasteful! Delicious greys, playful coppers, well chosen art adorning the walls. No wonder he was smiling – the restaurant was very busy; seems everyone is keen to see what has changed down here!
Once we had chosen our food from the extensive menu (there is certainly something for everyone) Daniel brought me over a large Pinot Grigio (well it would be rude not to) and some delicious tortillas and we had a chat about how he feels now they are open. Daniel has been a GM here for 18 months and is obviously very proud of the new look, and as equally proud of his team. You get the feeling there is a lot of love in this place and that is shown in the staff, their attitude and attention to detail. Daniel told us that The Swan is very quickly moving up the rankings on Trip Advisor and it is easy to see why.
We chose to dine on scallops (firm favourite) and lobster and prawn with devon crab creme fraiche, followed by two hearty roasts – lamb for Mr Foxy and beef for me. There were so many good things to choose from but as I used to frequent here on a Sunday purely for the roast I thought I owed it to myself to see if it was good as I remembered, or was this just being nostalgic, like I am about my first car!
Starters delivered and devouring commences. As per our usual dining, we both start and then swap – this way we get to try more than one thing (unless it is wine, I don’t share that with anyone, ever!). The scallops were yummy, as was the lobster and tiger prawn pot (this is amazing!!!). Cooked to perfection and the right portion size, things were looking good! Daniel realised when he came to take our plates away that we had swapped, we did explain why in case he thought one/other didn’t like something.
Next came our mains – trust me when I say these are fabulous! Huge yorkshire puds crowned the plates with succulent meat lurking below, fresh vegetables, rosemary and garlic roasties. Who doesn’t love a Sunday roast and this certainly does not disappoint. My beef was cooked to perfection and literally melts in the mouth. Mr Foxy loved his lamb and equally the beef which I shared with him. Again a perfect portion size, although I couldn’t finish mine as there was too much for me. Mr Foxy cleared his plate, he always does when faced with good honest well presented and cooked food.
Daniel re-appeared (he is like Mr Ben – just keeps popping up) with a broad smile. He knew the dinner had broken me and I was so full I almost had a Mr Creosote moment. He gave us the dessert menu and tried his best to tempt us but Mr Foxy and I were just too full! We could not even muster one to share between us as that would have been pure gluttony.
We took full advantage of Daniel’s time and he gave us a quick tour of the restaurant including upstairs which I have not seen for about 4 years. The downstairs dining seems far more roomy than before – it has a new air of spaciousness and decadence, the upstairs the same. It is good to see that there are still some of the old features so whilst it may be freshly painted in more modern subtle tones, the heart of the place still remains, it just seems bigger! The upstairs is perfect for larger dining or networking and I will certainly be booking it for some launches we have this year with the Foxy team. Perfect for dining and then retiring to that fabulous terrace for after dinner drinkies!
We thanked Daniel for his time and the great food and we cannot wait to go back again. This is a pub at the end of the day, and I think it is true to it’s word. Good honest food made with love and served with heart. It does not have the price tag of fine dining but then this isn’t a gastro pub with fancy gimmicks. The Swan is a beautiful pub with a great restaurant and as we left Mr Foxy and I agreed that once the word is really out there might be a wait-list to actually get a table here and it is not difficult to see why!
Oh must say – Mr Foxy noticed dog biscuits on the bar and a waiter carrying a water filled dog bowl – seems our four-legged friends are as equally keen to visit and see what is going on.
Good luck to Daniel and the team, we will be back!
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