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Review of The Swan Inn

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The Swan Inn
Ranked #2 of 2 Inkpen B&B and Inns
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed July 28, 2013

Very disappointing visit. the website looked fabulous, the location fabulous and the menu fine for a country pub. However, it was empty at 8pm on a Friday and we had the restaurant to ourselves. We shared a starter of whitebait and calamares ... we had three rings of calamares, three whitebait sticking out of the rings and three onion rings on "old" lettuce for £8 ... it was all deep fried, over done and a very poor show! really I was quite shocked. We had already ordered our mains by this time otherwise we would have left by then ...

We both had one drink from the bar and was not offered anything else, either a top up or a wine list. We also had to request some bread which was odd. We were told only fillet beef was available and funnily this was the most expensive item on the steak menu - when it arrived the beef fillet was great but served with frozen chips and peas which was disappointing. What was more shocking than anything was the £70.00 bill for two drinks, one starter and basic steak and chips which was mediocre ... in my view, a complete rip-off! That is why this lovely located pub was empty on a sunny Friday night at 8pm.

Oh I wish I had chosen another pub really, I don't mind paying for good food but this was shocking. As a contrast, we stopped today at the Dundas Arms and for the same £8 starter we had home made ham hock terrine, pickles and fresh bread ... wow the difference in quality was huge!

I recommend you avoid this pup unless you want to be overcharged for less that good pub grub :-( wont be returning anytime soon.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jayn1e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theswan01, Owner at The Swan Inn, responded to this reviewResponded July 29, 2013

This is a disgraceful review written by the wife or partner who posted a review on 27th July for the same visit.
We suspect this is planted by someone interested in a local competitor.

Needless to say when asked by our chef and bar manager if everything was to their satisfaction they said yes and had no complaints.
Tripadvisor should not allow this type of review to be posted.

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77 - 83 of 157 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

Very friendly traditional country pub atmosphere with locals chatting to staff. I wish I'd had more time to explore the surrounding countryside but it was a welcoming place to come back to after a busy day at a conference. Staff were extremely helpful and I will definitely return next time I'm working in Newbury.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Susanna L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2013

Based upon the location and the website photos I imagined my partner and I would be in for a treat.
The pub looks all it should be nestled in a very pretty part of West Berkshire, unfortunately that's as far as it goes.
Perhaps alarm bells should have started ringing when we realied the restaurant was empty... Friday night! Sunny evening, superb location??
Based on the prices in the menu we left feeling a little nonplussed having been relieved of £70.00 for two starters and main courses.
The food is advertised as organic, and that was one of the reasons we chose to eat here, perhaps it was but the cooking, service and food presentation can only be described as lacklustre.
We dined in the restaurant as opposed to the bar area and the first impressions created by the white linen tablecloths were promising notwithstanding all the empty tables.

This establishment needs to work out whether it is a pub serving food or a restaurant.
Where did it go wrong?
The starter of Calamares, whitebait & onion rings was presented on a bed of limp lettuce which had started to go black on the edges of the leaves.
The fried components were overdone and looked and tasted like something you'd pick up in an Iceland supermarket.
We had to ask for bread to be brought to the table; this was after the starter had been delivered.
Once we had finished our aperitif at no stage were we offered the wine list or drinks with our main course. No self respecting pub or restaurant would ordinarily miss this opportunity to relieve me of more cash?

I decided not to ask for drinks as by this stage we felt committed to finishing our meal having ordered main courses.

Admittedly, the steak (fillet) the only cut available on the day was pleasant but accompanied by frozen chips and peas feels like a very 70's Schooner Inns or Beefeater moment.

Our bill was presented on a curly till roll as opposed to the normal folder or some such. As I've said before is it a pub or a restaurant.

This establishment could be a very special out of the way fine dining experience, it's setting is lovely. Presumably the local residents (this is a very well to do area) would eat here regularly.

Fine dining it is not. Pub grub perhaps, but certainly not at the prices it currently charges.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank tofer50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theswan01, Owner at The Swan Inn, responded to this reviewResponded July 28, 2013

This review is in complete contrast to the 5 out of 5 review posted the same day. Our organic Fillet Steak is £24.95 per head so £50 of the £70 was for the main course. Our Fillet Steak is rated very highly by other reviews. The diners were given a menu including a wine list when they arrived.
We do not use frozen chips and while we are disappointed to receive a poor review the remarks are simply not factual.

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Reviewed July 14, 2013 via mobile

The staff were lovely and very friendly and helpful. The terrace outside was lovely in the sunshine, however the only thing that let it down was the limited choice of draft lagers (only 1) and the food was very average, compared to other pubs in the area. We will definitely return on a sunny day, but only for a drink.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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Thank Millert67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theswan01, Owner at The Swan Inn, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Sorry about the lager but we are a real ale pub.
In the Camra guide and West Berks Camra pub of the year in 2000 and 2011.

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Reviewed July 13, 2013

I had dinner here tonight on balmy summers night and took my very elderly father. Food was excellent and the staff were extremely friendly. This is lovely country pub and I will definately be back very soon.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
    • Service
Thank Robertager1962
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2013

I have visited the pub on a few occasions over the years and I can only make a comment on how downhill it has gone. No one seems to go there anymore and it is clear why. It always seems empty and the food is just awful. There is limited choice and unless you like beef you are pretty stuck. The menu doesn't seem to change and is very dated, especially the presentation. One saving grace is the local farmer who was a great source of entertainment. On speaking with other locals in the village they do no go in there anymore and travel to other village pubs instead. Such a shame as could be a good pub, but its lost its way badly. The good reviews seem to come from people who are just passing or staying in the b&b. also how can you have a village pub where dogs are not welcome????

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Brenda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theswan01, Owner at The Swan Inn, responded to this reviewResponded July 13, 2013

Am amazed at this unbalanced review contrasting with recent ones. She "has visited the pub on a few occasions over the years". We have never seen her at the quiz or darts nights (held on alternate weeks). How did she speak to locals - coming from Oxford?
In addition to beef (we are organic beef farmers) we have 3 chicken, 5 fish and 3 vegetarian options on our current menu (several with pasta made by our Italian Head Chef).
We do not allow dogs inside because we serve a lot of food - most people prefer to eat without animals around their tables. Did she eat or did she take offence because she couldn't bring a dog in?

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Reviewed July 8, 2013

My wife and I decided to head out for lunch so we headed for the White Swan at Inkpen. It was a beautiful day so we sat outside having ordered at the bar. The bar man was very helpful and very polite. The lunch was brilliant so was the service. The bar staff liked my car!
We shall be back. A brilliant pub and a lovely setting.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Pollackman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Swan Inn

Address: Lower Green Craven Road, Inkpen, Hungerford RG17 9DX, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Berkshire > Hungerford > Inkpen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Inkpen
Price Range: $93 - $166 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Swan Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Swan Inn hotel & organic food restaurant at Inkpen is a perfect venue for an evening meal, a conference, a weekend exploring the Berkshire countryside, or a longer stay.The tastefully extended 17th-century village inn has 10 en suite bedrooms, and is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Wessex Downs.The Swan is owned by local organic beef farmers Mary and Bernard Harris. The menus for the hotel restaurant and bar food feature organic produce as well as beef from the farm. Our famous range of sausages are on sale in the farm shop attached to the Swan Inn. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Swan Inn Inkpen, Berkshire

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