We Visit....The Swan Inn, Northampton

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When travelling around the countryside on a Sunday afternoon, it seems the perfect thing to do is seek out a local pub and settle down for a traditional roast dinner. The Swan Inn in Northampton popped up as the perfect place to do just that.

On arrival you quickly realise this is a gastro pub, with the minimalist feel, modern decor and unusual art on the walls. It makes you feel like you've been invited to the rich in-laws for lunch, fabulous so far. But does the food live up to the swanky image?

Opting for the traditional roast beef and the rolled loin of pork with crackling, the food arrived and was an immediate delight. A huge, pillowy yorkshire pudding crowned the thick slices of beef that topped a choice of roasted and mashed potatoes. The perfectly cooked and seasoned veg sides came along after.
 

Great, but on closer inspection the blushing pink medium-cooked beef that was requested had not been delivered. The portion sizes also seemed stingy for the price. The pork was not a rolled loin, but slices and the crackling that was supposed to be nestling happily next to the pork, wasn't there. After enquiring about the missing pig skin that we all love so much, it arrived - although without apology and it was hard enough to carve a waxwork. At £11.50 per roast, this combination did leave a sour taste.

When it comes to the wine, the menu is not without the favourites and at average prices, a nice bottle of USA Blackstone Merlot being £16.95, or a ripe Veramonte Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, £17.95.

Judging by the freshly graduated, nervous looking waitresses, this place might have a high staff turnover, maybe the reason for the needed fine tuning to the service. It would be optimistic to expect a wine recommendation here, so the decision was made for a glass of Arium Tempranillo Crianza (£5.23) which was fruity, creamy and delicious as it should be - perhaps the highlight of the meal.

As you might expect with gastro pub type places, they're all mouth and no knickers....or something like that. This place definitely has redeeming features, such as the lovely atmosphere, countryside setting and extensive menu, it just needs a kick up the backside in terms of service and food quality, which are the main factors.

If you find yourself visiting Northampton, you might think about dropping in for a refreshing Pinot on the garden deck, overlooking the rolling hills of the shire. But if you are looking for gastronomic quality, you might think about swanning off elsewhere.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock