The Swettenham Arms is prosaically like many pubs with restaurants around the country; you now what you are going to get. The mix of game pies, roast lunches and things with wild mushroom for the vegetarians in the room. It has a wonderful atmosphere with large open fires - especially appreciated when the weather outside is cold - and excellent service. I would love to give it a hearty recommendation.
Only I can't.
Firstly, for a pub with as good a reputation as this, I was amazed to discover that their was only one vegetarian dish in a list of around 14 main courses. In this day and age I find this woefully inadequate for any establishment. I am not a vegetarian though my wife is, but to honest I don't always want a plate of meat in front of me. This aside the menu is, as I have stated already, the sort of fare that you would expect and, therefore, I had high hopes for the meal in general.
Everything was fine until the food came. I have two daughters, one 8, one 10. They both ordered from children's menu food. The eldest had the child's version of my food - a gourmet burger and chips - the other had a bowl of pasta and tomato sauce. There was barely enough pasta to fill the small bowl and as a consequence woefully overpriced. My food was placed in front of me - a very nice looking burger with exactly 14 chips and nothing else - then my daughter's child portion of the same meal arrived. It was exactly the same size as mine, the only difference between them being mine had a tiny piece of bacon, and a sliver of gherkin. The roast meals were by far the best option, the portion sizes being far more appropriate to the price, but the desserts, once again, were hugely inflated prices for what arrived.
All in all, I honestly feel that despite it's wonderful reputation, the Swettenham Arms could do with a reality check and either lower it's prices or improve the actual food. I could have quite easily had the same meal for two thirds the cost at another one of these stylised country pub come restaurants.
I won't be going again, that's for sure.
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