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Swan Inn, Milton Keynes Village

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user reviews of the Swan Inn, Milton Keynes Village

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Went here again for a drink for the first time in about 20 years. I understand that they'd had a major fire and a big rebuild but it still looked olde - and must have been refurbished well. The decor was smart but comfortable.

The beer was excellent - I had Timothy Taylor Landlord and it was very well served - pleasant and efficient. Seemed very much a foody pub, but there was no difficulty in finding a table for just a drink. Menu looked good, if a little on the pricey side, and the food I saw served looked appetising - the people eating seemed to be enjoying it anyway!

All in all very pleasant, and I intend to go back again well before another 20 years has expired!
Grumpy_Old_Man - 6 Jul 2013 18:23
This is a quaint looking thatched roof pub that was apparently in the original village of Milton Keynes, long before it was surrounded by the concrete metropolis. Consequently it’s one of the few pubs in the area that looks as though it might have some character, although if you’re expecting it to be located in a quaint old village you’ll be disappointed. It seems to have been pretty much swallowed up, and is largely surrounded by cheap looking housing, although there is still an old church just behind it.

Inside the country pub theme continues, with the main bar at the front having a pleasant and cosy ambience. The floor is partly attractive flagstones and partly some pine boards. There’s a low ceiling with plenty of black beams, and a large, brick built fireplace that had some logs burning away. To the left is a snug with some bench seating with plenty of scattered cushions, and a few pictures of swans on the wall as befits it’s name. There was also a fireplace here with a wood burning stove, and a small bar counter, although neither were in use on a recent visit. The lighting might be described as atmospheric or dark depending on your point of view; suffice to say that if it hadn’t been for the lights from the Christmas tree I would have been unable to read my menu.

The main bar seemed to be busy, with mixed groups stood around chatting. At the rear is a larger area that looks to be more geared up for dining, although I didn’t check this out. Staff were all friendly enough, although service was somewhat haphazard – I was waiting at the bar for some time with numerous staff walking passed and ignoring me, and when I did get served they didn’t seem to have much of a clue, like not knowing if they’d started serving food yet, or what the pie of the day was. As I said, pleasant and friendly enough though.

Food tended more towards the gastro-pub side of things rather than your traditional pub fayre, and most of the main courses were in the £12 - £15 bracket. Whilst there were a few more traditional dishes such as Sausage & Mash, Pie of the Day and a Burger, even these were all priced at over a tenner. Some of the dishes were really off the wall – I spotted a desert of Lemon Possett with a Raspberry Compote and Popping Candy! What on earth is that? That said, what I had was pleasant enough though.

Beers on tap were Brains SA Gold, Bombardier, Young’s Bitter and Hydes Owd Oak. The solitary cider was Symonds Founders Reserve.
Blackthorn - 30 Nov 2011 21:49
One of the nicer pubs in the Milton Keynes area (ie one that does not hhave the feel of an artificial lego-brick building, as with most pubs in the viscinity). Friendly and attentive service.
The toilets are an area of concern. I am deeply suspicious of public houses/bars which have only one cubicle (in the gents). I find this totally inadequate for the needs of a well populated innery, and a gross representation of the commercialised forces of modern pub 'gastroism'.
The price of pints is also absurd. Starting from £3.40 for a real ale, up to £4.30 for a strong lager resembes Mugabe inspired inflation. Not acceptable.
Albeit, a most pleasant innery for a quiet drink with the misses (don't complain about the price when she asks for a large though).
docmartin - 28 Sep 2011 21:16
We went again last week: I'd still say it's good, but no longer excellent. The food was good, but you can't say more than that. Service was present and pleasant, but not especially attentive.
The sparkle is missing.
TNC - 2 Jun 2010 15:59
I went here yesterday evening with a friendly but important customer. Friends had been the evening before, and my wife and I are going on Saturday with the same friends.
The food was excellent, the service was excellent. It's all I've ever known here. I was amazed and disappointed to read the bad reviews. It sounds like they hit a bad patch. Thankfully, it all seems to be back to normal again.
TNC - 22 Jan 2010 15:14
I would not recommend this pub to anyone to eat in.

We had our xmas day here last year and was absolutely disgusted with the service and the food at the ridiculous price they charged.

£60 per head + the cheeky prats add a 10% service charge on top we were a table of 10.

On arrival we stood there looking stupid for about half an hour, not one wait staff greeted us with a hello or even a kind nod to acknowledge we were there. Our table was sitting empty and we including elderly were left standing around.

Throughout the meal the service was appaulling, wait staff paid no attention to our table us needing to call out to have empties cleared off our table and to get drinks.

As well as this the food was less than average and probably the worst pub food i have eaten in years it was very basic and bland, they burnt the soup starters, and the roast meat main beef and turkey as dry.

at £60 a head you would expect a superb delicious meal and extraodinary service little from what we got i felt really annoyed at the cost of the meal when we could have taken the family to nandos and all eaten for about £100 instead of £600.... really really bad experience

girlspeed - 17 Dec 2009 12:19
I was looking for somewhere smart for a birthday dinner and the Swan seemed to fit the bill; it has a very smart website suggesting old world gastro-pub opulence and an up market, ‘fine-dining’ menu with prices to match. Main courses will set you back £11-15 with any vegetables or potato dishes costing an extra £3.00 so expectations were high.

The Swan has also been lauded for managing to retain its local clientele will also operating a high-end restaurant but unfortunately this means smartly dressed diners have to run the gauntlet of challenging looks from the gaggle of hard-drinking smokers gathered around the front entrance.

The welcome inside was hardly better; with a rather indifferent barman casually thumbing the direction to the restaurant as he pored the next pint of lager. Despite having booked two weeks in advance when we reached the restaurant they had no record of it but were ‘lucky’ that they had a table spare.

Although it was mid-week the place was nearly full so it obviously has a good reputation but unfortunately only two waiting staff so service was quite slow. We ordered a chicken and leek terraine and a mushroom tapenade to start with sea bass in a cream sauce and slow-cooked belly pork and chunky chips to follow.

As it was a special occasion we ordered two glasses of champagne which were priced at £7.00each on the main menu but, it subsequently turned out, priced at £7.50 on the wine list and charged to our bill as £15.00,not £14.00.

If we were to put our ‘Masterchef’ heads on (and at these prices who else are they aiming for but that Masterchef generation) then he chicken and leek terraine definitely needed more seasoning and the leeks were under-cooked.

The mushroom tapenade was serviceable enough but came on a disc of white bread that had been over-toasted so that every attempt to cut it resulted in a small explosion of hard bread fragments across the table. Both dishes were accompanied by a small pile of very dry rocket leaves which were just screaming out for a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar.

On to the main courses and the sea bass was delightfully cooked although the sauce was very rich to the extent that my wife decided against a desert afterwards. My ‘Jimmy Buttler’s’ slow-cooked belly pork came with a very tasty sauce on a bed of new potatoes which were delightful.

Sadly the pork itself hadn’t been slow cooked properly and was tough that it was unmanageable without a steak knife and I eventually gave up on it. The chunky chips however would have passed the Heston Blumental ‘thrice cooked chips’ test being golden brown and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and these were probably the highlight of the meal. The meal was accompanied by a reasonably priced Orvietto which proved to be good value.

Our empty plates seemed to sit in front of us for an age before I eventually stacked them on an empty adjacent table which finally prompted the waitress into action.

For desert I had a pear and almond frangipan which was delightful but would have tasted better had I not had to clean dirt my spoon before starting and it is this sort of lack of attention to detail that lets the restaurant down.
W finished with a cappuccino and liquor coffee made with some pretty watery single cream (if it was cream at all) which was a long way removed from the concept of a gloriously creamy floater coffee which is what I’d thought I’d ordered.

All in the bill came to £90 for two of us and even after allowing for the champagne and the desert that had been provided free of charge because of the inedible pork it was still a whopping £70 for two courses, wine and coffee.
For that sort of price I think we’d have expected something special but the service was below par and although the menu was good the cooking was generally very ordinary with a couple of mistakes thrown in.

Sadly too many pub restaurants seem to think they can just throw on some grey-green paint, put out some of those minimalist square oak-veneer tables and call themselves a gastro-pub in order to charge people £35 each for two courses with wine. Unless they actually deliver on the food and service, customers will not come back and eventually, when reviews like this start to accumulate they will stop coming altogether.

Rich5 - 30 Oct 2009 08:31
Called in to see what it was like, but surprised to see it fairly empty. Checking the time it was probably a bit early at 19:30 on a Monday. Bombardier seems to be the most common Ale in this area (excluding Tetleys), so a pint was ordered. As served, I was a little off-put by the price (£3.00/pint where as my previous high price for this particular pint was in the region of £2.65), though it tasted fine and went down well. A quick glance at the menu didn't excite me and with to local regular beer being so over priced, I think I will avoid this place in the future. My rating reflects my disappointment in price.
alcapone69 - 29 Sep 2009 09:17
bring back simonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
nuffy1 - 17 Jul 2008 12:57
I really like what they have done with the place. It was about time it was updated. The restaurant is fantastic, the food was really good. You really get what you pay for. I visited on a Friday night and the atmosphere was great, it was busy too. The staff are really friendly and the service was good. I am really looking forward to spending some time in the garden.
JohnJam - 31 Mar 2007 13:08

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