Top 50 Gastropubs


The Swan

Bampton, Devon

Hunting, shooting and fishing. It’s just another day at the Swan in Bampton, Devon, which claims to be the oldest pub in the area and is just a short journey from Exmoor National Park.

Unfortunately The Swan has had to close its doors, we wish Donna and Paul all the best with their future endeavours. 

Run by husband-and-wife team Paul and Donna Berry, the classic English country pub is more substance over style – but far from winging their food offer, the pair have invested a whole lot of thought into each carefully crafted dish. The Swan is far more than somewhere to just whet your beak.

In fact, the accolade-laden Swan – an AA Four Star Gold Inn, holder of two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence and winner of several Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs awards – has been so successful that the cheffing couple launched local bistro Spelt not too long ago, which allows them to experiment with new cuisines.

Previous small plates on offer at the Swan have included chicken liver parfait with apricot purée, pistachio and brioche; scallops, roasted cauliflower purée, chorizo and scratchings; and faggots with onion purée and crisp onion.

Setting you back a modest sum, the Swan’s main menu comprises pub classics and some more modern dishes – with steak, kidney and ale pudding; fillet of Brixham cod; and slow-roasted Mary sheer pork belly, apple compote, savoy cabbage, bacon and cider sauce have all been recent features.

The Swan was presented with a Gold Tourism Pub award in the 2017 Devon Tourism Awards and won Best Dining Pub at the Trencherman Awards 2018.

Trencherman editor Jo Rees says: “It is difficult to get into the guide in the first place – restaurants have to meet strict criteria, with extremely high standards – so to win a Trencherman’s Award and to be considered the best of that illustrious community is hugely significant.”

Paul, who is a leading chef with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, explained: “We are dedicated to sourcing all the local or regional produce available to us. Needless to say, we are so lucky living here in the West Country, we have local farmers supplying their beef, pork and lamb and the fishing communities providing us with the freshest cod for our classic cod and chips.”

The pub and its owners truly are like no other, with the warmth of both Donna and Paul echoing through the walls of the Swan as well as Spelt, which is just a short walk away and situated in a former bakery.

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