“ Bear and Swan, South Parade, Chew Magna, Bristol, BS40 8SL. Tel: 01275 331100. „
I recently went for dinner with my family at the Bear and Swan, in Chew Magna, on the outskirts of Bristol. It is one of those places that I had heard great things about but just hadn?t got round to visiting yet. I am glad that we eventually did as the place was great and the food was delicious. The Bear and Swan is essentially one of two village pubs in the pretty (but expensive) village of Chew Magna. The location is lovely in itself, but when I entered the doors of the Bear and Swan, I expected the usual village pub that does food on the side. I was very wrong and pleasantly surprised. Inside, the restaurant section is to the left of the bar and just the right size (not loads of tables crammed in, but still had that cosy atmosphere). The restaurant was actually quite full when we arrived, which was surprising as it was a Monday evening, although I am sure that was a good sign. What about the food? For a change, my family decided against the starters and though we would focus instead on the main meal and the dessert menu. The starter and main meal menu was brought over to our table on a blackboard, which showed that dishes were changed frequently. Despite not actually having a starter, I did have a quick peek at them (for future reference you see). There were many fish based starters, one vegetarian tasting salad starter and soup. The starters were about 5.50 each, which I though was quite expensive, but can?t comment on quality and taste, as we did not consume any. Whilst deciding on our main courses, we were greeted by a friendly waiter who took our drinks order, and brought fresh bread rolls and butter to our table. There was also a separate vegetarian menu, which I liked, and it did not contain the obligatory ?vegetable lasagne?, which won my vote. In fact, the vegetarian menu had three vegetarian choices, all of which sounded scrumptious. For main course, people chose mozzarella and sun dried tomato tart, pork in a h
oney and calvados sauce, chicken in a bacon and basil sauce, potato and pesto cakes and sort fish dish (sorry can?t remember what exactly). Main meals were priced between 8 and 12 pounds and were served with vegetables and a choice of sauté or chipped potatoes. We all opted for sauté potatoes and a bowl of these in addition to a bowl of vegetables arrived with the main meals. The bowls of potatoes and vegetables were small and there was only one of each to share between 5 of us, so we asked for an additional bowl of each. The waiter brought over an extra bowl of vegetables and potatoes very quickly. Everyone declared that their meal was delicious and I don?t think there was any food left on the plates, always a sign of a good meal. Did we have room for dessert? Well, four of the five of us opted for dessert, with two choosing the baked Alaska and two opting for raspberry crumble and custard. As with the main courses, the desserts were scrumptious and not the usual run of the meal desserts. The baked alaska had some sort of berry ice cream in the middle and was huge! The crumbles arrived in individual posts with individual jugs of custard ? they too were delicious. The desserts were priced at 3.50 each, and they were certainly well worth it. After eating this feast, we finished the meal off with a coffee and asked for the bill. We were pleasantly surprised that we had not been charged for the extra portions of vegetables and potatoes that we had requested. As we were a party of five or more, a 10% service charge was included, but we felt that it was very well deserved. To sum up, a lovely pub, good and attentive service, excellent food and good vegetarian options. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone living in the Bristol area and I can?t wait to go back and eat there again!