~ THE PUB ~
The Swan is located in Ash Vale in Aldershot, Hampshire and is a charming traditional pub/restaurant which offers freshly prepared pub food and high quality drink at great value. The pub is open Mon-Sat 11:00-23:00 and Sundays 12:00-22:00. They have a Beer garden, car park, Disabled facilities is Family friendly and offers Wifi.
~ INSIDE THE PUB ~
As you walk into the pub through the main entrance, the bar us straight in front of you. When I went in here there was also a table with Easter themed items on it advertising offers they had for Easter weekend. The bar is quite small, how-ever there always seems to be plenty of staff on hand to serve customers quickly. They have a large choice of wines, and also sell beers, spirits and soft drinks including J20, Coke, Lemonade and different juices such as Orange & Cranberry. The toilets are located to the left of the bar as you walk in, and are clearly marked ladies and gents with large signs on the doors. There is a small seating area across from the bar which has a range of different sized tables; how-ever this area isn't very big. If you walk round the bar towards the back of the pub there is more seating, with different sized tables to accommodate different sized parties. The feel of the pub is warm and quite welcoming and it's always fairly busy when I have been in here. The pub isn't too modern looking inside, and does look very much like a traditional pub. In terms of cleanliness the pub is very clean and also very tidy.
~ THE PUB GARDEN ~
The pub has a large seating area outside which is very nice in the summer as you can sit by the canal. Some of the seating area is under-cover which is the allocated smoking area, and this area also has heaters which you can turn on. The majority of the seating in the smoking area is large tables, but there are tables which seat 2 people as well. The rest of the seating area is mainly open, with a few tables shaded in the summer by large umbrellas. Some of the seating is also situated near some heaters and these can be turned on or off. They have a reasonable sized grassed area where children can play. You are allowed dogs in the pub garden; how-ever they must be kept on a leash. The larger tables in the garden are wooden benches with the seats attached to the tables. The smaller tables have separate chairs which can be moved.
~ TOILETS ~
When you walk into the ladies toilets, they are very small. There are 2 toilets and a wash-basin so you can wash your hands. Although the toilets could do with a little paint they are very clean and always well stocked with toilet paper. As you can imagine it can get a little busy in the toilets, especially when the pub itself is so busy with so many people.
~ STAFF ~
The staff always seems friendly and polite and are dressed fairly smart in black clothing. When being served drinks at the bar the staff member served me quickly and was very helpful to answer my questions regarding the drinks they had to offer. I personally think the staff could maybe look a little happier when serving and I don't think serving with a smile would hurt. How-ever as the pub was busy; they were probably rushed and trying to serve customers as quickly as possible.
I'm not a wine drinker so decided to have an archers and cranberry. I often drink this lot and it's surprising how much different pubs charger for a small amount of cranberry juice. For 1 shot of archers for my drink it was £2.75 and then it was another £1.95 for the small glass of cranberry juice. This is quite expensive compared to the other pubs I have been to, as normally this would only cost me just over £3.00 at my local pub. My boyfriend had a pint of Fosters which cost £3.45. I'm not really sure how much pints costs but I presume this is about average price or maybe a little more for a pint.
~ FOOD ~
They have a large menu which includes starters, salads, grills and steak, pasta, fish and puddings to choose from. The food is very expensive here and you don't really get a lot for your money.
Some of the food available on their menu is:
Wild Boar burger
Ice Cream Cookie Cup
Sticky Toffee Pudding.
They also do a kids menu which includes sausages, burger, fish fingers, battered fish and chicken. I chose to have Organic Salmon which cost me approximately £13.29. This included a small piece of Salmon which was wrapped in Parma ham and came with a pesto and white wine sauce. This also came with green beans and a choice of either mash or salad. I chose salad instead of the mash. There was about a 30min wait for food, how-ever we were told this when ordering the food at the bar. Sure enough about 30mins later me and my boyfriend received our food. The staff member told us where we could find the cutlery and sauces, so my boyfriend went over and got this. I was surprised at how small the portions of the food actually were. I know salmon can be expensive, so I wasn't expecting a huge piece, how-ever for £13.00 I was expecting a little more. The salmon was plain, and the pesto and white wine sauce was in a small jug on the side. There was a nice amount of green beans and a fair amount of salad on the plate as well. The salmon tasted lovely and was quite flaky when cutting it. I'm not a huge fan of pesto so wasn't sure what the sauce would be like, how-ever this tasted lovely with the salmon and gave it a bit more flavour. There was some ham wrapped round the salmon, how-ever this was only wrapped round the middle of the salmon and there wasn't really a lot there. The green beans were cooked just right and weren't soggy. The salad included red onion, a mixture of lettuce leaves and half a cherry tomato. Although there wasn't much in the salad apart from lettuce leaves I felt the portion was just enough to go with the salmon, but I would have liked more tomato and maybe a bit of cucumber in it as well.
My boyfriend had the Venison Medallions which came with a chutney sauce, cabbage and potatoes. The portions of this were very small seeing as it cost £14.99. There was a large amount of bright green cabbage and 3 small chunky bits of Venison. Although the portions were very small my boyfriend did enjoy the meal, how-ever he did think it was over-priced.
~ OVERALL OPINION ~
This pub has a lovely seating area outside and it's really nice to go here in the summer if you can get a table next to the canal. The pub was busy; how-ever they seemed to have enough staff to be able to deal with everything. The food was really nice and very enjoyable; how-ever I did feel it was slightly over-priced, considering the portions of meat are very small. The staff were well presented and dressed well; how-ever I was disappointed that a member of staff didn't come back to us whilst we were eating to check that the meal was ok. When paying the bill/tab it was only then we were asked if everything was ok with the food. If there had of been something wrong with the food it would have been up to me or my boyfriend to find a member of staff in order to complain about it. The tables in the garden are always cleared quite quickly, to enable new customers to sit down at the tables. I was surprised that you have to get the cutlery for the food yourself as in most pubs I have been to the member of staff will get the cutlery for you when they bring out your meal. I give the pub 4 out of stars as it is over-priced and I think the staff could be much friendlier and look happier. The food was good quality and did taste very nice.
~ CONTACT DETAILS FOR THE PUB ~
2 Hutton Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 5HA
(review may also appear on ciao)