The Black Swan Inn,
After hearing good things about the food at the Black Swan Inn at Pickering I couldn’t wait to give it a try. I had eaten there many moons ago before it underwent a major transformation and I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised. On entering the main bar area I noticed what a fresh, modern feel it had, yet tastefully in keeping with the period of the building. The sprawling bar has been lovingly updated from drab to fab, with shiny new craft ale pumps and ambient lighting.
The Black Swan also boasts its own brew-house and cocktail bar, Whistlers. Both have proved to be popular additions to this 18th century coaching inn.
A pleasant member of staff showed us to our table in the dining area, and brought over our menus and a mini specials board. The atmosphere was very relaxed, with jazz tinkling away in the background, blended with the soft chit chat from other diners.
Sat sipping our drinks we read the menu - a mix of traditional and international cuisine. I should point out that the Black Swan also has a pizza menu, which looked very tempting, but having eaten pizza the night before, we decided to give it a miss.
To start we shared the Mini Cajun Chicken Sliders; I had no idea what a chicken slider was so thought we’d give them a try. They were lovely. A miniature trio of lightly-fried chicken pieces in warm Cajun spices, delicately layered with a slice of fresh tomato, a leaf of iceberg lettuce and all sandwiched together in a tiny white bun. It was just enough as an appetizer, as we’d both ordered a heavier main meal.
My partner plumped for the 100% bacon burger off the specials board, served with chips and salad he added cheese and onion rings for an extra £2. He asked if the chips could be substituted for sweet potato fries. The fries came as an additional portion to his chips but we weren’t charged for them. The bacon burger was huge and tasted like a piece of prime gammon. It was loaded with oozing cheese and three giant onion rings were stacked on top.
I ordered the home-made individual pie of the week which was steak and ale, accompanied by crispy chips, a side of fresh vegetables and a pot of meaty thick, rich gravy. The short crust pastry was lovely and golden, and the steak was tender. I lathered it in gravy, of which there was plenty. We were pretty much stuffed but found room to round off our meal with a dessert to share. We took the plunge and ordered the Deluxe Chocolate Sundae. This consisted of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, fresh whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a home-made chocolate crisp. The chocolate crisp was an impressive spear of dark chocolate wedged into the centre of the dessert, which we snapped in two and shared. The layers of velvety chocolate sauce, crunchy chocolate chips and smooth ice-cream all worked well together. What’s not to love?! To top off our dining experience we were looked after by two very efficient and attentive members of staff who managed a fully-booked and busy dining area between them, and all with a smile.