Awarded best pub in the ‘Watering Hole’ category at the 2016 Cardiff Life Awards, The Old Swan Inn has not been complacent over the past year as they’ve just invested £40,000 to renovate the 800 year old building and establish a new restaurant area. I was invited to try this new fine dining experience, and here’s what I thought…
Part of the Knife & Fork Food group, the updates bring it in line with sister restaurants, The Conway in Pontcanna, The Pilot in Penarth and The Discovery near Roath Park, whilst building on its own unique character and period features. The bright and stylish 40-seat restaurant is in a separate area behind the traditional pub and can accommodate the whole family with high chairs and a children’s menu. Outside is a beer garden that is open throughout the year, perfect for the upcoming spring and summer months.
The Old Swan Inn’s menu offerings are etched on a chalk board, which gives the Head Chef the flexibility to review the menu daily based on what’s in season or in stock. I liked that the meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and bread are all sourced from local suppliers and they forage locally for wild garlic and herbs.
The current menu is split between specials like wild Mushroom and paprika orzotto (£10) and classic pub favourites like Battered cod (£10) and Ham, egg and chips (£9).
To start I opted for the Welsh Rarebit (£6.50) with salad and crispy bacon that was full of flavour and beautifully presented on a long wooden board. Alternative appetiser options currently on the menu included Cod bites and Olives, hummus and crispbreads (£5).
The main course was an easy decision, a Rack of Lamb (£17) as I rarely get to enjoy this myself at home and thoroughly enjoy it when it’s done right. Thankfully it was beautifully tender and juicy and came with a crispy potato rosti and vegetables.
My guest had the Pan Fried Salmon (£14.50) with mustard mash and leek, chorizo and clam sauce and was bowled over by the flavour describing it as the best salmon dish she’s ever had (believe me, that’s a big compliment).
With just enough room spared for dessert, I opted for a refreshing Strawberry parfait with macaroons, a sweet and summery end to my dining experience.
I throughly enjoyed my meal at The Old Swan Inn, much more than I initially thought I would. In fact we were already thinking about our return and messaging family and friends before we even left the building. Going off the existing menu, a starter, main and dessert will cost around £25 per head, but I have seen offers and group savings on social media.
Not only has The Old Swan Inn been a staple for the local community for decades, it’s also positioned in a lovely part of the Vale for those visiting the area. Just minutes away by car is the Glamorgan Heritage coast and the delightful Dunraven Bay (check out my Real Wales Tour with a few other Welsh bloggers). So if you love rambling, being by the sea and a good British pub, get your calendar out and make a day of it.
The Old Swan Inn
Church Street, Llantwit Major, CF61 1SB
01446 792 230
I was invited as a guest and so my meal was complimentary, however all opinions are my own.