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“Excellent Service”
Review of The Swan

The Swan
Ranked #5 of 51 Restaurants in West Malling
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $13 - $80
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Reviewed March 15, 2013

Went to The Swan for lunch yesterday, the waiter could not have been more helpful and friendly. The food was good although 2 scallops seemed a mean portion for almost £12.Great atmosphere lovely decor and we're going back at the weekend.

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Thank Laura_perth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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637 - 641 of 765 reviews

Reviewed March 10, 2013

Thankfully not another set menu for Mothers Day, which can often be a downfall, The Swan offered its usual menu. Food and service are good - slick and efficient. Waiting staff are happy to help and when ice from the ice bucket found its way into our wine it was exchanged without question. Food was good - terrine was notable. Roasts were fine, if a little tepid. I was neither disappointed nor overly impressed - although I left feeling the bill was hefty for what we had.

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Thank Louise G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

This place never fails to disappoint. I’ve eaten there 4 times now and on only 1 occasion – a midweek lunch – did I feel the experience I got was (a) worth the price, and (b) what it set itself up to be. Two other times I enjoyed the food but was severely ill afterwards (the common denominator both times, though I eat them often elsewhere, was oysters). This latest time was for Sunday lunch, so that’s what I will review.

What I liked:

The place is good looking, the ‘chattering class’ clients make an effort to dress up and enjoy their outing, which makes for a nicer atmosphere (no rampant children or chavvy families shovelling food here), and the drinks (choice and quality) are good. Where I have marked it above-average, this is the reason.

My lobster bisque was one of the finest I’ve tasted, lovely and fresh. It was served over fennel, which was a nice idea but the fennel needed shredding more finely. My husband’s potted mackerel however was far too cold, which dampened the flavours somewhat.

They offer table water (flavoured distilled tap water) if you are having wine, which is a nice change from charged-for mineral water.

The wine and cocktail list are both very good, the former being surprisingly reasonable.

What I disliked:

The ‘fine dining’ experience (soup poured at the table, wine set aside & served, etc) is only a good idea if the service is exemplary, and this was too hit and miss.

There were no vegetables with lunch – and I mean NO vegetables. Actually, I tell a fib, I had 1 spoonful of cabbage hidden under my meat, and was told there were no more to be ordered.

Ditto gravy – a central component of a Sunday lunch – and asking for more brought a 250ml jug, half empty, for a table of 6. I put this down to the ‘chef knows best’ attitude you find in some restaurants – again, fine if you get it spot on to start with, but not if you don’t.

The veggie option was dire.

The food was tepid, and it’s all served ‘as is’ (i.e. you cannot order your beef medium or well-done, it is all ‘chef pink’ – fine for me, but not for a mixed group).

they add a 12.5% service charge automatically. Now, I always tip, and usually at 15% (unless service is abysmal) BUT I prefer to leave it in cash so the waiter actually gets the money. Restaurants need to stop adding it to the bill, as we all know that they are using the service charge to actually pay their staff, rather than it being a reward.

I guess the problem The Swan faces is that it’s a good-looking restaurant in a posh-ish area, where there is little competition (although the Farmhouse in the same village is much better, there’s little else locally). So, it attracts anyone who wants an ‘upmarket’ place to eat, but it then rests on those laurels. Compared to its sister restaurant in London, which is consistently good and doesn’t try too hard to be something it is not, it’s a real shame.

Would I go back again? I will probably have to, as my mother enjoys the ‘style’ more than she dislikes the bits that are wrong – a perfect client for them, in fact.

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Thank wink_smile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

What recession! If you go to the Swan you will see little evidence of it. These guys have got it right and have moved with the times. Whether it's brunch, lunch, dinner, a wine dinner, or private do, there's always a buzz around the place.
We have been many times now and have always enjoyed the atmosphere of relaxed conviviality and excellent food. The food on an ever changing menu is always interesting - you won't be bored here and the portions are good. There is also a more limited and special priced lunch menu, if you prefer.
The wine list has some gems within it and Nick and his super staff are always available to assist.
We cannot applaud The Swan more!

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Thank Alistair V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

Nice atmosphere, good wine selection, delicious food and attentive and friendly staff. It is a 3 minute walk from No.64 at the Joiner, which is a lovely inn.

Thank davenrich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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