The restaurant: Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk Bankside, London, SE1 9DT
The Swan Restaurant is somewhere I ought to take my mother. During the day, for brunch, looking out onto the river with a charming view of St Paul’s. I feel the same about Sky Garden. A lovely view with an iconic landmark always says impressive and out to impress. A Thames-side restaurant connected to a historic venue, such as Shakespeare’s Globe that Swan adjoins with, would certainly garner me some extra points. I’d also tell her that a portion of the restaurant revenue is donated to Shakespeare’s Globe Trust, an organisation supporting Shakespeare and performance – for a guaranteed nod of approval.
Swan is an all-day dining place with courses and cocktails that fit around matinees and evening shows. There are breakfast, afternoon tea, Sunday and set theatre menus. For this date night feature, we chose from the all-day restaurant menu. The food focus is best of British with flourishes of European flavour and ingredients, influenced by the former Head Chef Allan Pickett (previously patron of Piquet) and carried on by Brian Fantoni (previously of Westbury Hotel and Claridge’s). For the most part, the dishes are comforting British fare: organic chicken and spring vegetables; Cornish cod and crab cannelloni; and lamb rump. The menu changes a couple of times a year in line with the seasons but you can always expect locally-sourced British produce and at least a couple of classic dishes.
We entered through the downstairs bar that was busy, despite a show having just started. Upstairs, the restaurant is spacious with three private dining and drinking areas. It’s smart and polished: marble table tops, large windows, luxurious sofas, and measured low-lit lighting. It works for date night; it works for the tourists and it works for Sunday lunch with your mum.
Starters were scallops cooked just right and topped with a crispy rind of bacon beside a delicate, sweet pea puree. For me, slithers of salmon served with rye bread and a creamy mayonnaise dressing. Tender hunks of lamb were laid atop creamy mashed potato, sweetened by a roasted shallot. I tucked into a crispy pork belly in a pool of jus with a generous side of potatoes. Dessert was a ginger sponge cake with a light and creamy vanilla custard. Each of the dishes was presented meticulously and composed of traditional British ingredients that made for a delicious date night.
For more date night inspiration, click here.