IT’S bustling and busy at The Swan in Salford when we visit on a Thursday lunchtime, writes Sammy Jones.
When the menus are presented, we see why: A vast selection of fancy, but proper dishes all silently screaming ‘pick me!’...and it’s just taken us ages to decide on a wine from the very decent selection.
Forget that ‘quick bite’ to eat, this is going to be a long lunch...
It is fair to say The Swan’s new spring menu is tipped in favour of meaty fans, but veggies needn’t fret – there is plenty of choice and not one dreary delivery in sight.
My dining partner Olga and I nibble on olives and breads before tackling a Thai pea risotto.
Perhaps now is time to mention that I don’t much like the small and innocent petit pois.
Nor am I a huge fan of Thai food. No, I don’t know why I ordered it either, but am so glad I gave the risotto a chance.
It was delicious – perfect in texture, fresh, light and with a lively, spiced delight after every bite.
A pause for wine – white for Olga, red for moi, before the splendid looking main courses arrive.
“Now this is art that I am interested in!” Olga declares, feasting on pan-fried hake with saute potatoes.
“It’s beautiful, melts in the mouth and is cooked to perfection,” she says between mouthfuls, while across the table, the perfectly parcelled saffron gnocchi, forest mushrooms and broad bean fricassee is equally delightful.
In our little corner of this smart dining establishment there are no complaints, and the same scene is repeated table after table of customers, all given exemplary service by knowledgeable staff keen to make your experience under their roof a memorable one.
Dessert is decadent – apple crumble cheesecake with honeycomb ice cream, and iced yogurt and pistachio parfait, lime marshmallow and lemon curd.
It sounds good written down, so you can imagine just how well the flavours danced across the tongue!
A visit to The Swan isn’t to be rushed, and once there you’ll have no problem relaxing into the surrounds, while making a promise to yourself that this should become a regular visit for a spot of lunch.
As a well known foodie would say ‘mange-tout, mange-tout’!