Last Updated on
A Pub, Restaurant and Chophouse, The White Swan, Fetter Lane.
Once upon a time Fleet Street, Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane were dominated by journalists and newspaper workers. Traditional pubs and bars thrived with their custom, while the ‘other’ big employers in the area, the Inns of Law seemed less prevalent. What is now the White Swan was The Mucky Duck. When ETM first took over the premises, the newspaper businesses of London had by and large already moved out of the City and the whole area had changed. Perhaps to accommodate the new market, The White Swan opened as a pub on the ground floor with a restaurant and chophouse above. And, over the years, the food side of the business has become increasingly important.
That said, lovers of the traditional pub will still feel perfectly at home in the wood-panelled ground floor bar, with a well-stocked bar selling Adnams Ghost Ship, Long Arm and Sharp’s Doom Bar together with a range of guest beers, wines and spirits. We went along during that Twixmas period when the restaurant was closed but still enjoyed dining in the cosy downstairs space.
Starting with a fresh and light bottle of Picpoul de Pinet, we ordered starters and main courses from a reduced menu, but still had plenty of options. My companion picked the Barbary duck and cranberry terrine with clementine chutney and chargrilled sourdough, while I chose Whitby scampi with tartare sauce. Both classic gastropub starters, my scampi came prettily presented in a cast iron pan and had a good crisp crumb and well-cooked scampi filling.
My companion’s terrine was challengingly portioned – he couldn’t finish it and felt there was too little sourdough for the quantity of terrine. No complaints about the flavour or texture though, and he loved the seasonal tangy clementine chutney.
We went on to enjoy a Longhorn cheeseburger with bacon, lettuce, tomato and hand-cut fat chips – the lunch of champions my companion loved his feast and particularly rated the chips.
My order of beer-battered Brixham pollock with hand-cut chips and mushy peas hit the spot. I love traditional fish and chips and have a bad habit of picking this English classic whenever I see it on the menu. The batter was wonderfully crispy and the fish perfectly cooked. And, I agree totally with my companion that the chips were spot on.
By the time I’d cleaned my plate, I had no space for dessert but my companion picked the classic lemon meringue pie with raspberry coulis. A dainty portion of lemon flan was topped with three meringue fancies. I’m not sure it was quite what he expected but we both enjoyed trying it.
I’m looking forward to returning to The White Swan and trying more from the menu. There are some delicious options on offer and I’d love to check out the first-floor restaurant. Part of the ETM group, with other restaurants like The Jugged Hare and Chiswell Street Dining Rooms in the family, I know it will be worth it!
Apart from anything else, this part of London is definitely worth exploring with a host of wonderful churches and listed buildings. An easy way to earn another lunch at the White Swan!
The White Swan
108 Fetter Lane,
London EC4A 1ES
We dined as guests of The White Swan.