Beer Saturday - return to The Swan
Once upon a time, The Swan was the best pub in Staines. But that was when we first moved into the area nearly 20 years ago.
Every few years it suffers a facelift and loses a little more of what made it a fantastic pub. The old furniture, including church pews and rickety tables went a long time back. The are beams were plastered over and the walls painted pastel colours. But worst of all the beer went downhill while food disappeared up it's own menu.
In the last three or four years we've visited every six months and not had the urge to return until the next menu change.
It's that time again, and I was dreading what we might find, given that the owners - legendary London brewery Fuller's - have sold the brewery to Asahi of Japan so they can "concentrate on the core business of successful pubs". Given I have gone off their pubs in the last decade, that did not bode well.
On the positive side, this was the best kept London Pride and E.S.B. I've drunk in a year or two.
As for the food, well the butternut squash soup was apparently excellent, as was the grilled octopus Be chorizo. But the beetroot and fennel salad tasted only if rocket. We didn't order any mains as the menu is still utterly pretentious. Can't remember details, unfortunately, but apart from a burger and fish & chips there quinoa was overly present.
Within 10 minutes walk is The Bells, a Young's tied pub with excellent food, and we could drive to Wraysbury and The Perseverance, that is a country pub a few minutes from Heathrow Terminal 5.
Both of those are far better pubs than The Swan. We'll be back in the summer in the hope that things have improved, but next weekend it's back to The Bells for lunch. Although I might be tempted into The Swan for a pint on the walk home from the station.