ALLAN PICKETT GOES UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT AT SWAN
Jessica Way heads to the Swan Bar & Restaurant, located at the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe with stunning views of the Thames and St Paul’s.
Jessica Way heads to the Swan Bar & Restaurant, located at the iconic Shakespeare's Shakespeare s Globe with stunning stunn views of the Thames and St Paul's. Pau
GAZING OUT OF THE RESTAURANT window overlooking the illuminated bankside walkway running alongside the River Thames, with a glorious view of St Paul's Cathedral set against the bustling London cityscape, makes for the perfect dining setting. The experience offers a sense of escapism from the city while still being connected to the energy which surrounds you. Looking out of the smaller side window, pretty night-lights twinkle over the impressive exterior of the world-famous open air theatrical venue Shakespeare's Globe. The subtle Art Deco elegance and ambient lighting gives this impressive upper floor restaurant a relaxing sophisticated feel in contrast to the more lively bustling atmosphere of the ground floor bar. Swan has been a proud partner of the iconic Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for over a decade looking after the Globe's bar, restaurant and events spaces, as well as the theatre's cafés and tap houses –the two venues are intrinsically linked. Swan and Shakespeare's Globe share an entrance and main foyer with booking office and other visitor facilities, in addition to having their own separate entrances. Externally they work together as well, with those hosting an event at Swan, Shakespeare's Globe helping to support the educational and artistic work of the Shakespeare Globe Trust - a charitable organisation set up to further the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare in performance. Featured extensively in Exclusively British magazine, and especially so last year during the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 2016, I am certain most of you are already familiar with William Shakespeare, described as England's national poet, the "Bard of Avon", playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. Shakespeare's Globe was founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, and, through the connected means of performance and education, keeps Shakespeare's greatness alive today by celebrating Shakespeare's work and the playhouse for which he wrote. The theatre, exhibition and tours offer fantastic visitor experiences, with outdoor theatre in the Globe, and candlelit indoor theatre in The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, accessed through the shared main foyer. Currently showing at The Playhouse is the new musical, Romantics Anonymous, part of their Winter Selection series, as featured in our Cultural Agenda pages p17. I enjoyed that Shakespeare's legacy had been incorporated into Swan with inscriptions of quotes from Shakespeare, and other popular playwrights, on their interiors and stationery, such as Oscar Wilde's appropriate quote “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations,” and “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf. I also like that they celebrate British artists, with striking works on display including a marble sculpture of Venus and Cupid in the bar by Theo Crosby, the architect who designed the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe, and in The Bull Room (a private dining space for up to 12 guests) Herakles the Blue Bull, by Polly Hope, is an impressive wall-sized mural spread across 345 tiles and hand-painted in cobalt glaze. British, locally-sourced produce is at the heart of their restaurant menu. Executive Chef, Allan Pickett has a wealth of restaurant experience, most recently he led the kitchen at Piquet restaurant in Fitzrovia, where he won phenomenal critical acclaim. Prior to Piquet, Allan cooked at Plateau in Canary Wharf and at Orrery and Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, both in Marylebone. He also worked under chef Marco Pierre White at L'escargot in Soho. The theme that pulls all of these restaurants together is their commitment to fine French cuisine, made with the very best of British produce. The menu reflects Allan’s ability to marry together his classical French training and unrivalled knowledge of British ingredients to create a patriotic menu of British dishes made from the best of what's in season. For starters I chose Hand-dived Marinated Raw Scallops with Granny Smith Apple and Squid Ink Mayonnaise. The combination was delicious and triggered my appetite for what was to come. For the main course I was tempted by the Cornish Fish Stew with Saffron Norfolk, Potatoes, Garlic Mayonnaise but instead opted for the Pavé of Halibut, Sauté Mushrooms and Purée, Kale, Roast Salsify. The fish was succulent and the combination of the purée and kale for each fulsome mouthful was sapid. Finishing proceedings with the Autumn Berry Pavlova Raspberry Marshmallow with mint syrup – delicious! The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, so there is always a good time to dine at Swan. Their A Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea has inspired me to return! The restaurant is also available for pre and post-theatre dining, private dining, parties and weddings (email@example.com).