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|Address:||35 Swan Street, West Malling, Kent ME19 6JU|
|Price: £35.00||Wine: £14.00||Champagne: £36.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-2.45pm, 6-10.45pm, Sun 12N-7.30pm|
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Set in the trendy town of West Malling, The Swan restaurant certainly keeps to the tone of the area instantly oozing high class and sophistication.
Among a wealth of public houses and cafes, former Gordon Ramsey protégé Mark Sargeant and head chef Scott Goss have created a corner of culinary quality in the county.
Despite losing their Michelin Bib Gourmand, which represents value for money, the 15th Century Inn certainly has a good reputation as I headed there for the evening.
I was armed with a good friend of mine who is himself a chef at a Michelin Star rated establishment in Kent.
The décor was as you would expect, extremely well done. A modern restoration which left the original wooden beams tipped off with contemporary shining steel fixtures and fittings.
We were instantly able to relax with a drink at the bar and a browse of the wine list before taking our seats in the small dining quarter that completed the front area of the old style building.
We were immediately greeted with a small amuse-bouche of warm pumpkin soup that tasted like liquid gold.
We both agreed that it left us wanting more. You could tell that by the fingers that went into the pot afterwards to scrape out the final drops.
Despite not being a couple, or on a romantic date, the pair of us opted for a Maldon rock oyster each with shallot vinegar, £2.00 each.
My friend, a fish restaurant connoisseur, loved the added touch of the oysters being served on ice with a half lemon bound in muslin to allow juice but not pips to fall on to the shellfish.
They tasted clean and fresh as all good oysters should.
I opted for Smoked Haddock kedegree with poached quail’s eggs to start, £7.00.
The rice was cooked perfectly and the milky sauce made sure the dish remained moist. It was excellent, although there was a little too much on the plate for what had quickly become a third course.
My friend went for Sussex pork shoulder and leek terrine, £8.00. Again the plates were cleaned without hesitation. The copper pot with grape chutney was a nice touch.
Onto mains and I went for the Venison shank and parma ham pie, £17.50, which arrived spectacularly like something out of a Desperate Dan cartoon with the joint bone sticking through the pastry.
The card on the table explained that the venison had come from nearby Chart Farm in Sevenoaks.
Again those extra ideas on presentation just added to what was a rich and flavoursome choice, if a little light on the vegetables.
The restaurant was now filling up with a mixture of clientele from families to businessmen, as my guest went for chicken breast with celeriac champ and truffles, £18.00.
He assured me that he had chosen well.
For the final round out came the glazed orange tart with orange syrup, £7.00.
Again it was well presented with zig-zag syrup lines although for the same price as the kedegree starter the portion size varied quite considerably.
It was very citrusy which took away from the orange taste a little and the chill factor on the desert could have been less but the quality left nothing to be desired.
The final bill was no revelation although I was surprised to see the 12.5 per cent service charge covered the drinks we had in the bar before the meal.
The whole experience was very pleasant, easy and tasteful. With the added extras from the cucumber seasoned water to the amuse-bouche, you do get what you paid for. Something a little different.