Location: Almost directly opposite the Hoop & Grapes on Farringdon Road sits The White Swan. It's recently changed hands and the new owners have done a great job converting what was a bit of a grubby, old-skool city grot-pub into quite a nice gastro-type feel. In spite of the imposing pitch black exterior paint job, the inside was surprisingly light and airy, with 'proper' solid wood tables laid out ready for lunch.
This visit happened on a Thursday lunchtime, I had the pleasurable company of the blonde, the brunette, and the Scottish lass (and we know what happens when this lot join me, don't we Giant Robot!)
Handmade West Country beef burger with cheddar and bacon and hand cut chips - £8.95.
The blonde, brunette and I all went for the beef burger, whilst the Scottish lass went for a chicken burger (having never eaten beef...is she really Scottish, you ask?)
The burgers are presented in classic pub style, bun on with piles of hand cut chips and a generous salad garnish. Reassuringly this salad wasn't the usual sad, hot-kitchen-heat-lamp-wilted affair, but actually looked pretty fresh. There was also a ramekin of burger relish on the side.
Bacon and cheddar. The bacon was pretty good, a wide rasher of unsmoked bacon in the style of the classic English breakfast, cooked pink rather than brown. The cheese was an ok, medium flavoured cheddar, but could have been melted a bit more the bring the burger composition together.
The ramekin of burger relish was chopped tomatoes and onion which tasted fresh and homemade, rather than out of a jar.
Fine. I had my burger medium rare, whilst the blonde and brunette both plumped for medium. When the burgers came out, the meat in my dining companions burgers was a bit dry, whilst mine at medium rare was nicely juicy. The mince in the patty was ground fairly roughly, giving plenty of interest in the mouth, and the meat was lightly seasoned enhancing the flavours in the beef.
|The Brunette's cut-through|
|The blonde's cut-through|
|My medium rare cut-through|
Fine. The bun was unremarkable. It was a simple, flour-dusted white bap and was relatively fresh, but it kept everything together without exploding or disintegrating.
Ok. Hand cut chips were almost too chunky and wedge-like, which meant the frying hadn't fully cooked them to the core. Slightly al-dente, but still crispy. The salad was fresh, and had a great Italian dressing so I nommed it all down (almost unheard of).
Overall rating: 7/10
The White Swan burger is not remarkable, nor is it outstanding, but it is a good solid burger and all the elements work well together. The chefs have locked down the elements of a solid burger but have stayed in their comfort zone with standard ingredients, which means that while they should make a high margin on this burger, but it doesn't stand out.
At the end of the meal, the blonde, was her usual earnest self and stated "I've got some stuck in my teeth", followed swiftly by "It's a bit big for me, I can't take it all". She can always be relied upon to lower the tone.