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RESTAURANT REVIEW: SWAN, SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE

After a recent refit, Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe is all muted-toned elegance with a nod to Art Deco, serving up an unpretentious sense of occasion alongside glorious views of St Paul’s Cathedral…

Words: Trish Lesslie

There are some London vistas that never fail to bowl me over. One is St Paul’s Cathedral, viewed from Bankside in all its splendour. Attached as it is to Shakespeare’s Globe, Swan offers this glorious vision, along with the sight of the towers of the City rising up above the Thames. Gazing out of the restaurant’s windows certainly injects the wow factor, but the Swan is much more than a room with a view.

A less casual and frenetic space than the downstairs bar (which also serves food), the second floor restaurant is all muted-toned elegance with a nod to Art Deco following it’s recent refit, serving up an unpretentious sense of occasion.

Tempted to perch at the elegant new bar for an aperitif, it seemed plain wrong to turn our backs on the panorama so we headed straight to our table, perfectly placed by two corner windows

We arrived early on a weekday evening to a room packed – judging by the Exodus just before curtain-up – with a pre-theatre crowd. Tempted to perch at the elegant new bar for an aperitif, it seemed plain wrong to turn our backs on the panorama so we headed straight to our table, perfectly placed by two corner windows. 

Wistfully taking in the view, it took us a while to turn our attention to the menu, which focuses on provenance, seasonality and simplicity, offering ‘best of classic British’ dishes with a contemporary twist.

No doubt used to distracted customers, staff were patient, friendly and helpful, our waiter happy to answer to our seemingly endless questions. She recommended a bottle of Cutizzi Greco Di Tufo Feudi Di San Gregorio – a fresh, fruity, medium-bodied white.

We eventually decided on Crisp ox cheeks for Sir, two generously-sized rectangles of succulent meatiness served with parsley mustard and chicory salad. I opted for the Jerusalem artichoke soup with spinach pesto – divinely creamy and sublimely flavoursome, with hazelnuts adding a surprisingly enjoyable crunch.

The chap went off-menu with the special, salted marsh leg of lamb with bitter leaves, wild garlic and a red wine jus. It was served rather more well-done than is his preference, but was tasty and tender nonetheless. My Cornish fish stew with Norfolk saffron potatoes and garlic mayonnaise was sizeable, served with a large slice of sourdough, and consisted of cod, mullet and whiteing, mussels and a single, delicious scallop that left me wishing it had a companion or two.

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream was the right side of sweet with a crisp pastry, while my Vanilla yoghurt panna cotta and Yorkshire rhubarb was light and refreshing, with chalk-like sticks of juniper meringue dramatically raising the sugar content. Although there was a rather long interval between the starters and the main, we’ll be returning for an encore.

The Knowledge

Cost
Three courses for two, excluding drinks, £70

Good for…
Pre-theatre dinner

What to eat…
Crispy ox cheek, parsley mustard, chicory & caper salad

What to know…
It’s open from breakfast through to lunch and dinner

21 New Globe Walk SE1 9DT; 020 7928 9444; swanlondon.co.uk

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