Situated in the heart of a historic market town in South Norfolk, nestled in the countryside, is the Loddon Swan.
The building stands majestically along the main street of Church Plain and takes pride of place for those passing by – although I strongly recommend that you do not do so and enter instead.
As you enter from the front of the building you are greeted by an intimate bar with a downstairs dining area to the left.
After giving our reservation details, along with Mr W, I was shown to our table upstairs – a beautifully light and airy room decorated with local art and plenty of space between the tables. We sat overlooking the city and it was nice to relax and watch the world go by.
Although the Loddon Swan has a small menu, there is a variety of dishes to suit all tastes.
We opted for the ‘perfect to share’ starter of baked camembert (£12.95). Surely there is nothing more satisfying than a melty, moist cheese enriched with fresh rosemary and garlic?
Deliciously rich and creamy, the camembert was enhanced with sides of fresh salad leaves with a drizzle of honey and mustard, crunchy celery sticks, black grapes and a divine date chutney and apples bursting with caramelized flavor.
But the star of the show was the addition of two miniature focaccia loaves. Try as we might get it, it’s the chef’s secret recipe. Its unusual corn color and spongy texture was due to using less oil and it works amazingly well. Honestly, it was sublime, and my mouth is still watering thinking about it.
We cleared our plates and had time to relax and enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant while admiring everyone’s food. It was a rather joyous occasion to see the various meals arrive, to see the majority of the main courses being prepared. They all looked absolutely gorgeous, colorful and were good portions.
Our mains soon arrived and MW’s eyes lit up like diamonds when his burger and fries were placed in front of him (£14.50). Consisting of a 6oz Aberdeen Angus burger burger with smoked bacon, Monterey Jack cheese and mustard mayonnaise in a brioche bun, I can confirm the flavors were exquisite. Yes, I got a snack.
It came with salad and fries on the side, the latter of which was shared with me. By far the best fries we have ever had. Cooked to perfection, crispy but not overdone and seasoned just right.
As delicious as her meal was, I was equally delighted with my herb gnocchi in a tomato and basil sauce, with sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and basil pesto (£14.25). It was a surprisingly filling meal and felt like real comfort food.
With little room left, Mr W asked if he could fit one of the pudding choices and have some shortbread with a scoop of locally produced ice cream (£4.95), while I feasted on rhubarb and strawberry tart with fig and mascarpone ice cream. cream (£8.95). Both were a pleasant end to what had been an excellent meal.
A beautiful building located in a picturesque town, with a clean and contemporary feel. You can also get a room here for the evening and photos of the accommodation are available on the website at theloddonswan.co.uk
The meals were good value for money with a great choice of local produce. For a three course meal with drinks we paid a very reasonable £63.
The bar itself is quite small but has a good selection of lagers, beers and spirits, as well as a good selection of soft drinks away from the usual cola and lemonade.
Unfortunately there were no non-alcoholic gin options, but as these become more popular I’m sure this is something that could be considered in the future. I enjoyed a bottle of Frankilins (£2.90) while Mr W had a pint of San Miguel (£4.50).
Clean and fully functional. As you might expect.
Although there is a staircase to access one of the dining areas, there are options downstairs for disabled access.
Diners are encouraged to speak to their servers if they have any food allergies or intolerances, and we found firsthand that the staff are very knowledgeable about the dishes and ingredients.
There is a special grill night on the last Friday of the month and the next will be July 29. In August there will be an Italian evening on August 26th. Reservation is recommended. The restaurant is closed on Sunday evening.
There is also a good sized car park outside.
No complaints. Our server was attentive, polite, down to earth and eager to help us with all our queries and questions about our food – mainly the bread!
The food itself was definitely the highlight. It was cooked to a very high standard and I can’t imagine anyone getting served a bad meal here. A nice place to enjoy a meal.
Definitely worth a visit, especially for people who like good fresh food.
If you like it, try these…
Lime kiln cookingat Thetford Garden Centre, is a really relaxing place for Sunday lunch.
George and the Dragonin Cley-next-the-Sea, is a once closed pub now making waves on the North Norfolk coast.
Filby Bridgein Filby, near Great Yarmouth, is a revelation with stunning views and good honest food.
Did you know…?
A chef who enjoys using “complex techniques” to create new dishes joined the team at this Norfolk pub in December 2021.
Shel Gibbs has been appointed as the new head chef at the Loddon Swan after working at the Swan in Southwold and the Park Farm Hotel in Hethersett.
She works alongside executive chef Jason Wright, who also oversees the food at Elms Barn near Toft Monks.
Ms Gibbs has since offered a brand new menu at the pub which previously included herb polenta, seared salmon fillet and caramelized beet and onion tart.
She said: “The philosophy here is perfect for me as I have an inherent interest in creating new dishes using intricate techniques to get the most out of the ingredients I love, sourcing locally from farmers , fishers and independent producers and making the end product look good on the plate – food really is like art to me.”
Our food opinions are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the place during their visit. The establishment is unaware of our visit, is not informed of our intention to write a review, and the bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and not based on places that do or do not advertise in our publications.