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The White Swan at Fence

From the outside, the venue looks like a typical village boozer where you’d expect to find a bar filled with thirsty punters, perhaps nibbling on a cheese toastie or two.

But wipe this image from your mind immediately, as the one Michelin-starred White Swan at Fence is a very special place indeed and serves some of the very best food in the region.

The pub is backed by brewer Timothy Taylor’s, those clever chaps behind the likes of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord ale, and fronted by fantastic foursome Gareth, Laura, Liv and mischievous genius Tom Parker in the kitchen.

Wit surrounds an elegant menu and interior at the White Swan, which is apparent from the pub’s website that describes chef Parker thus: “This is Tom. Among other things, Tom is very good at chopping chives. Tom cooks your food. Be like Tom.”

Tom’s skills at chopping chives extend further into the kitchen and it’s clear he devotes all his attention and energies towards curating a handsome and clever menu at the Michelin-starred pub.

We’ve had the pleasure of meeting Parker on several occasions and can confirm he is a bundle of energy and foodie intellect.

He was 2019’s Great British Pub Awards Chef of the Year, having won a rigorous cook-off sponsored by Booker/Makro.

There are also plans in the pipeline to give the pub a facelift and, hopefully, see some extensions to allow more customers the chance to sample the delicious cuisine that awaits inside.

Though the White Swan will never be able to say exactly what is on its menu until you arrive, previous dishes have included: lobster soup, salmon, fennel and tarragon; Whitewell partridge, roast celeriac, smoked bacon and onion; and Valrhona chocolate soufflé in a hot chocolate sauce.

How much will a three-course meal like that set me back, we hear you ask? Be prepared for a pleasant shock.

Two courses have, in the past, cost £30 and three £40 (not including a rare additional charge for some more expensive courses, of course).

Also, keep a look out for special menus served throughout the year, with previous ones including a sell-out Japanese-themed night.

To put it simply, the White Swan at Fence is a local pub that serves food, real ales and fine wines – and nothing more, according to the owners. Yet to the keen observer, this is a statement that reeks of modesty. The Highest New Entry of 2018 partnered by Bibendum launched into the list at an impressive 19 before rising 10 spots to ninth in 2020.

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