Loddon Swan: We check out this historic old coaching inn
It was third time lucky for dinner at the Swan in Loddon
Timing is everything. We’d wanted to visit the Swan at Loddon for months, having heard good reports, but last time we booked the Beast from the East roared in and scuppered our plans.
So we booked again. Mrs C was upended by the dog and dislocated a finger. Some months passed and we booked again.
This time Mrs C took a header out of the back door and somehow managed to break her leg. It wasn’t looking good.
But, unlike the swan, she is a game bird and so a couple of days after being plastered up we eased her carefully into the car and set off for Loddon. At no point was I motivated by a desire not to have to cook, I might add.
The Swan is a handsome old 18th century coaching inn which has prospered with recent investments in the dining and accommodation areas and on a warm summer Saturday evening it had a happy buzz.
Of necessity we dined in the bar – there are two other dining rooms – and set to an examination of the menu. Head chef Jason Wright, a finalist at the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink awards last year, likes to get hold of a classic and update it, using local ingredients, of course.
Being greedy, I have a soft, slightly melted, spot for a hunk of warm cheese and so the herbcrusted Baron Bigod and red onion jam looked a winner. Mrs C, fond of cheese with a bit of muscle, picked the Binham Blue beignets with pickles and burnt apple puree.
The Bigod was a trencherman’s wedge of gooey goodness; warming it really freed the flavours of this raw milk Suffolk brie and the sharp onion pickle cut through with a nice acid zing. The beignets were equally good on flavour – a couple more would have been nice – and the accompaniments were done well.
Lemon sole appears on menus infrequently enough to be a bit of a treat for me and, assured by the lovely staff that it was fresh enough to have been flapping around only hours previously, I ordered it. It was a pescatorial pleasure.
Sole can be a little thin; this was a full-fat fish, plump, juicy and cooked simply but expertly and was quite delicious. Reviewers will say that something ‘tasted of the sea’ as code for being over-seasoned, but this was bang on the money. The