It looks every inch the quaint, stone-built country pub in a quiet village (Woodnewton) that you hope for as you arrive with colourful planters by the roadside.
From the car park the welcoming patio area with huge brolleys is very neat and tidy and a good indication of what is to come.
Indoors there is a wooden floor and some exposed stonework but the refurb has given it a very contemporary feel – lots of grey on the walls, and country kitchen style white chairs and tables.
A nice bar are area looks well stocked with beers (including the Spanish Madri lager which I tried for the first time) not to mention a decent array of wines and 60-plus different gins.
The menu tells you it is a “gastropub” but there is quite a diversity in the offering.
I could quite easily have relaxed and worked my way through the tapas selection – and indeed the calamares with aioli (soft battered squid with a moreish garlic dip) was one of the dishes we shared along with, from the excellent starters section, the crispy mozzarella sticks. These were breadcrumb covered, crisp, very cheesy and came with a sweet tomato salsa dip. Delicious.
The mains included an amazing array of gourmet burgers (check out the Hanging Tower of Burgerlon on the website), pizzas – from a straight forward cheese and tomato through to the giant dirty pizza cone filled with fries, and topped with nacho cheese sauce, smoked bacon, onion strings and a jalapeno firecracker!
For those not that adventurous there are also plenty of fish, meat, and vegetarian dishes – not to mention a roast on Sunday.
Half a dozen choices on the kids’ menu included our six-year-old’s selection of two meaty grilled good quality sausages with fries (totally greaseless) and beans.
Very enjoyable and the plate was cleared.
Her slightly older sister opted for Hawaiian pizza – thin and crisp base, bags of stringy mozzarella and lashings of tasty ham and juicy pineapple. What more could an eight-year-old wish for?
There is a summertime menu currently running with a variety of salads including the Mediterranean Buddha Bowl which wife Donna picked out.
Homemade falafel with hummus were at the centre of the bowl, with Greek-inspired freekeh salad, Lebanese-inspired baba ganoush, red cabbage, carrot and roquette with a tasty tahini dressing. Individually good, but placement meant some of the wetter elements merged.
I stayed in gastropub mode and went with the afforementioned burger menu.
Now apologies to gastropubs everywhere if this is a “thing” but I found the surf and turf burger inspired.
A nice soft bun, beautiful meaty tasting home-made burger – and then the best bit: super smokey smoked salmon, a couple of slices, and topped with succulent king prawn cocktail just oozing with that sweet sauce and a touch of guacamole.
It came with crisp, skin-on fries and a home-made slaw.
It was all very, very messy to eat but absolutely worth it (even if it did come on a slate). A real thing of joy.
Will and Jason who own the place have really made their mark with the makeover. It’s a wonderful pub, great food and friendly service.
Brad Barnes was dining at the White Swan in Woodnewton www.whiteswanwoodnewton.co.uk