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“Food is good, service a touch hard to come by”

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Bistro @ The Swan at Hay
Ranked #28 of 31 Restaurants in Hay-on-Wye
Price range: $26 - $32
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Description: Located in the Victorian market town of Hay-on-Wye in the Welsh Marshes, The Swan hotel is set in a snug 'n' cosy grade 2 listed Georgian coaching inn. Literary luvvies and local food lovers are regulars in the hotel's two restaurants ��� the formal dining room, which serves dinner and Sunday lunches, and the less formal bistro which serves lunch and informal dinners. The hotel also has a garden ideal for summer al fresco dining. Head Chef Harry Mackintosh has created a traditional British menu with favourites including the pan-seared scallops with sunblushed tomatoes and orange sauce; the duck breast served with herb mash and chorizo cassoulet; and the classic Eton mess with crushed meringue, Chantilly cream and raspberries.
Level Contributor
97 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Food is good, service a touch hard to come by”
Reviewed September 9, 2013 via mobile

I think the staff are manning the reception as well as the bistro in this fairly central Hay location. Nobody manning the bar gives a slightly deserted feel to the place, however, food when we got it was tasty and satisfying. A great range of local cider and perry add an attraction.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank TaffsterLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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61 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
90 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Worth laying down and avoiding”
Reviewed May 29, 2013

Fawlty Towers lives and breathes and is in Hay-on-Wye. I have rarely been in a more disorganised and charmless restaurant/bistro. Admittedly it was during festival time and the place was very busy, but that was no excuse. You order at the bar and have a table number. When food arrives, it seems to invariably go to the wrong table. One poor couple had their order spilt, meaning that the man was still eating his soup when his main course arrived. This seemed to be happening to all the tables around us. When the food arrived, it was pretty tasteless. I had a very fatty porcetta, which bore no relation to its flavoursome Italian cousin. It came with French beans. This wasn't mentioned on the menu which meant I had ordered them as a side. When I pointed this out to the waiter, he left them on the table and said he would check the menu and come back to us (was I lying, that was the implication). Surprise, he didn't return and we were charged anyway. We didn't leave a tip and won't EVER be back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank PilatesLady58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burnley, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Spoilt for Choice”
Reviewed May 10, 2013

We had intended to eat here on our first night at Hay, but the food and the service was so wonderful - we decided to eat here on the second night too! It would have been nice to try some of the other restaurants in Hay - but the Bistro would have been a hard act to follow! Wonderful choice of freshly cooked and tempting food!

Visited April 2013
Thank Anne Marie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Quality food but service lacking same standard”
Reviewed February 18, 2013

We had waited for a table on a busy night so would have happily waited 30 seconds longer for our table to be properly ready. When we sat down it was unappetisingly dirty from the previous occupants and it took another 2 minutes for it to be cleaned.
We weren't even asked what we wanted to drink when our order was taken, and had to ask for a drink order.
The fillet steak we ordered was unavailable, we were later told, so we went for a cheaper steak.
The food was very tasty, however, when we returned home we realised that we'd been charged for the more expensive out of stock steak! So they owe us somewhere between £2-£5...
Overall, we were happy with the food and ambience but the service left a bitter taste.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank CotswoldTraveller8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
119 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Very nice food, good service and lovely surroundings”
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Came here very last minute as our hotel's dining room was uninviting. The food was very good and the wild boar a real treat. Atmosphere was excellent with a roaring fire and a brightly lighted room. Good selection of wines, beers etc.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank travelorMidlands
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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