The White Swan is in the heart of The City so as we were wondering around at 7pm on a Friday night, the whole area was relatively quiet. Upon arrival at the pub however, we had to squeeze ourselves through groups of people to get to the stairs and up to the restaurant.
Head wine buyer Paulo Brammer greeted everybody to the dinner and talked us through the format of the evening which included five courses, each with a different Rioja to match.
We started on a glass of fizz and were then served the Vinas de Gain Blanco (the only white Rioja of the evening) to accompany the starter of Scottish red deer with slow cooked shin tortellini. The dish looked delicious and certainly didn’t disappoint in taste! The tortellini was perfectly cooked so it still had enough bite and the sauce which the meat and pasta sat in was almost drinkable – we did manage to refrain! The second course of Yorkshire hare with pear tarte fine was by far a favourite. The hare was perfectly tender and the tarte was really sweet and almost like a layer of dessert within the dish. The plate was scattered with hazelnuts which gave it a woodland taste and was all washed down with 2008 Graciano…amazing.
The main course of roast breast and confit leg of mallard came in a sizable portion and really benefited from having the swiss chard accompaniment which soaked up the game jus. The meat was cooked a little bit too rare for our taste but was perfectly complemented by the Bodega Lan Reserva.
The cheese and wine course was never going to disappoint and being closely followed by a very rich chocolate dark chocolate pavé, we were in heaven! The espresso ice cream was full of flavour and the dish, once again, looked amazing. Paulo informed us that as Rioja don’t produce sweet wines, he hadn’t attempted to pair this course so we were to simply enjoy the Gran Reserva separately…and we did.
The meal was rounded off with a delicious chocolate truffle bomb and a cup of Illy coffee.
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