“ The Swan at Lamport / Harborough Road / Lamport / Northampton / NN6 9EZ / Tel/Fax: 01604 686 555 / Email: email@example.com. „
As new arrivals in northamptonshire my husband and i are visiting many local eateries, last friday we decided to have lunch at the swan at lamport accompanied by our young daughter. On entering the premises we were met by a lady who had to check whether we could be accomodated I thought it this rather odd as there were only two tables occupied in the whole place. When we were seated we were asked what we wanted to drink, but there was no mention of what my daughter would be having to drink and we were made to feel very unwelcome. We therefore decided to leave as we were definitely not going to pay for the privilege of being made to feel so uncomfortable. We instead ate at our local The Spencer Arms in chapel brampton where the staff are infinitely more hospitable and the food consistently good.
Terrible food, fish under cooked with tiny portions.Whole experience painful with the final entertainment them explaining they could not take card payment and had not been able to do so for days.To be fair the staff were nice and clearly embarressed about how poor the experience was.Very pricey too £72 for two with drinks and a dessert. A pub grub experience with restaurant pricing.
The Swan at Lamport is our most local up-market restaurant but we've hardly been there for the past couple of years because every time we decide to give it 'one more chance' we come away feeling really let down. It ought to be a fantastic restaurant and elements of it are indeed outstanding; the trouble is that they never seem to be able to pull everything together at any one time.
The location is great - well obviously it's just up the road so we're biased about that. They have a fantastic position on the top of the hill opposite Lamport Hall (the local stately home) with views for miles across the hillside. Often you'll park up and find a field full of sheep to entertain you.
The décor is exceptional - this restaurant really looks the part of the classy gastro-pub or bistro. It's like something straight out of a style magazine with lots of bleached wooden tables, fabric runners, menus on chalk boards, big bold paintings, and vases of odd stuff on the windowsills. When you first enter there's a long bar where you can order a drink and wait for your table or go straight through to your table.
The menu isn't bad either - very 'gastro' with lots of fancy names and fat chips which my husband loathes, but let's not hold their pretentions against them. The prices though are definitely on the high side, although if the food quality were up to the mark, that wouldn't matter. But sadly the food is too inconsistent to justify the cost. You can go in and order the same dish three times in a row and get three very different meals. It's not at all unusual for them to substitute elements of the dish for other things and forget to mention it. So for example if you ordered a dish that was supposed to contain asparagus, don't be too surprised to find the chef swapped it for broccoli and didn't mention it. A couple of times I've ordered a dish because one particular component was a favourite and then found it wasn't actually present in the delivered meal. That lack of attention to detail and adherence to the menu makes all the difference between good and 'just trying a bit too hard' in this sort of restaurant. Sadly, the Swan falls into the latter category.
When you first sit down they bring you bread and olive oil which is a classic gastro-pub conceit. Trouble is the amount is SO tiny that they really might as well not bother. I've often asked for more bread whilst I'm waiting and never yet succeeded in getting any. However, nobody ever says 'Be quiet you greedy girl' they just wander off and ignore you instead. And that's another element of the problem with the Swan - just like the food, the staff can be very variable. Lamport is in the middle of the countryside and the village itself can't have more than about 100 inhabitants, most of whom are loaded. If they have kids of waitressing age, they probably really don't need the money. So where do they get their staff? The nearest village of any size is 2 miles away with an infrequent bus service. Nine times out of ten your waitress or waiter will be a kid who not only knows very little about service, but probably also hasn't a clue what half the things on the menu are supposed to be.
Now onto my pet hate and the thing that finally stopped us going altogether. I'm a fair person and if someone makes a mistake, I give them another chance. Sometimes I give them two and in this particular case, I've even stretched to three. TUNA - that's the problem. I love tuna and The Swan's kitchen team are utterly unable to serve a tuna steak that hasn't been nuked out of all existence. The first time I asked for tuna and the waiter said 'how would you like it?' I of course said as rare as possible. He then brought me a tuna that had been charred to within a whisker of cremation, and I put it down to them just being busy in the kitchen. The second time they failed to give me a tuna steak that was pink in the middle, I seethed again and politely said it didn't matter because I was with guests and didn't want to cause a stir. The third and fourth time the waiter asked how I wanted it and I said "why bother asking, I'll get it overcooked whatever I say" and despite his protestations to the contrary, that's exactly what I got. I can only conclude that they must be using frozen tuna and there's no way known to man to cook a frozen tuna steak with pink in the middle without it also being half frozen.
Now someone once said that the definition of 'dumb' is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result - and sure enough, my relentless sense of hope that one day I would eventually get my almost rare tuna steak may say more about my sense of optimism than it does about the quality of the Swan's kitchen staff. But nonetheless it's lost them our custom.
We nearly went back in March when their sister restaurant -The Red Lion at Brayfield on the Green - lost all record of our reservation despite my husband driving over in person to book a table for my birthday. However despite the Red Lion messing up royally, the Swan couldn't be persuaded to help out. And probably that's not such a bad thing as I know I'd have come away seething mad once again.
The Swan's motto is 'Passionate about food' - I can only say I'm sometimes quite passionate about football but it doesn't mean I'm any good at it. I'd rather see them be Passionate About Attention to Detail - then I might go back again.
For two courses and half a bottle of wine in the evening, don't expect too much change out of £60- £70 for two and whatever you do - don't order the tuna unless you like it far too overcooked.
A delightful, modern restaurant and bar. I had previously visited The Swan when it was more of a pub, but after a tasteful and much needed re-furb I was pleasantly surprised. I found the staff to be well dressed and well mannered and the food to be very well presented and very tasty. My friends and I had a delighful trip and ended the extended lunch with anti-pasti and further drinks in the bar. I have since returned with my husband and children and we would definately recommend it.