Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gastropubs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gastropubs

Article excerpt

Byline: CHARLES CAMPION

The White Swan would be one of those famous Richmond riverside pubs, except for one trifling detail - it's not on the river. This pub is a couple of hundred yards north of the point where Old Palace Lane dead ends by the river, so you don't even get the fun of watching unwary visitors parking their cars alongside the signs saying 'road liable to flooding' and later returning to find their pride and joy claimed by the high tide. Despite being located in a swathe of exceedingly posh houses, and in an area so congested that traffic wardens patrol the residents' parking bays until 11.30pm, The White Swan has managed to retain many of the characteristics of a genuine local. The beer is well kept, the decor unfussy and the clientele agreeably diverse. And the food is good - basic gastropub fare with occasional twinkles of inspiration.

When short-handed in the kitchen, it's good sense to write your menu in a way that makes the most of the resources you have, and this can mean starters that owe more to astute buying-in than towering kitchen skills. At The White Swan there are half a dozen starters - soup, smoked salmon with lemon mayonnaise, a salad of smoked duck, filo-wrapped king prawns, grilled green-lipped mussels and another salad made with baby octopus.

Reading between the lines these dishes imply that the chef has a decent fishmonger/deli supplier. The octopus salad is fine - tiny octobabies tangy with vinegar on a jumble of fresh leaves. The smoked duck is also good - sliced thickly and not dried out. As ever, simple is good. Mains are also steady and all the better for it - the 10oz ribeye steak is a large lump of accurately cooked meat. The accompanying 'straw potatoes' turn up as indifferent French fries but the mustard mayo is piquant. Slow-baked lamb chump comes with saute potatoes and a head of garlic roasted whole - very sweet, very satisfying. …

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