The White Swan
The White Swan, in previous times known as the Bosham Pound Inn, was rescued from its near derelict state by Tina and Nick Irish in 2011.
It closed after only eight months of trading following devastating floods, re-opening 14 weeks later in 2012. The handsome, solid, smart cream-coloured outfit is yet again a shining beacon. A listed building, housing Ye Olde Bakery, it was once a pub. The Irishes recognising the importance of a local, with drinkers given space and good local ales including Suthwyk, Hop Back and Ringwood.
The Swan is equally handsome inside thanks to its cream tongue-and-groove panelling. The restaurant now features the original cast iron bread oven as well as two fireplaces, a fine bar and a spacious darts area in the drinking part of the pub. All in all, an air of comfort and charm is present.
The menu, either the lunchtime one or the evening’s offerings, are mostly good familiar pub food, and vegetarians are remarkably well catered for too thanks to vegetarian Tina. You can have Portabella mushrooms with cream and garlic or as a main course with aubergines, roasted vegetables and goat’s cheese. There are vegetarian sausages; pan-seared halloumi with roasted vegetables and baby squid with chilli and garlic and home-made soup as further starters.
Mains include whole tail scampi with home-made chips and tartar sauce; chicken breast with Stilton and bacon with vegetables; lamb’s liver with rustic mash, red wine gravy and chutney; burger with Emmental and smoked bacon and home-cooked gammon ham with two fried eggs or chips or bubble and squeak. Prices are around £6 for a starter, £10 for main.
A specials’ board may throw in roast pork with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, lamb chop with mint jus and vegetables, fillet of tuna with lemon herb butter or tagliatelle Bolognese. Local produce is the preferred choice here.
My choice, that chop with mint, (and the waitress asked how I would like it cooked, a bonus in this world of microwaves and lack of kitchen skills) came with the recommended five-a-day of red cabbage, mashed swede, broccoli, savoy cabbage and carrots.
The two chops were impeccable in every way, excellent meat expertly cooked and pink as ordered. And as for the mint jus, again, perfectly judged and plenty of it, the new potatoes (new, chips or mash are options) scooping up the remainder.
The Swan’s chef deserves an extra pat on the back for this seemingly singular but easy-to-achieve feat.
If not in a local beer or cider mood (they also stock Appledram cider), the wine list is a short, sensible one; Spain, France, Chile, NZ, South Africa and Italy are represented. A shiraz pinotage Tulbagh from South Africa was a first class glass.
Desserts are all home-made at £3.95. There’s rhubarb crumble and a sticky toffee pudding, with Caroline’s Dairy ice creams also on offer.
That pudding showed further consistency in the kitchen, the latter also demonstrating wisdom with portion sizes.
Service was excellent too. No corporate-speak here, it’s just, well, normal. Remember what that was like? No swan song for this White Swan. My bill came to just over £18 for two courses and that glass, plus a well-deserved tip.
The White Swan, Station Road, Bosham, West Sussex, PO18 8NG (01243) 578917.
Open seven days a week (Noon–2.30pm and 6–9pm).
Disabled access: Fine.
How to get there: Exit on the A27 towards Emsworth,and continue along the old A27 to Bosham.
The pub is on the roundabout. You can park on Station Road or on the street.
Ratings (maximum *****)