Dining Out: The Black Swan, Pickering - A feast for the eyes and the palate
A day at Flamingo Land can certainly leave you with an appetite.
Our stomachs had been flipped over by white-knuckle rides all day, but when they settled back to normal they were certainly rumbling.
We stopped off in Pickering in search of sustenance and stumbled upon the Black Swan – which handily displays a menu outside.
We were tempted in by what looked like decent pub food in traditional surroundings – and we weren’t disappointed.
The staff were welcoming and asked us where we’d like to sit. The pub was quiet when we arrived, but by the time we left it was almost full, with many customers enjoying a meal.
We chose to sit in the beer garden and make the most of the August sunshine.
The pub has an extensive menu and was also offering some delicious-sounding specials.
Starters included traditional favourites such as chicken liver pate with warm toast and home-made onion jam (£5.45) and more unusual options such as a deep fried breaded “Yorkshire Bomb”.
This consists of deep fried wedges of the Black Swan’s famous cheese served with a spicy chilli chutney and salad garnish (£5.95).
As lovely as these sounded, we were both won over by the specials board, which featured goat’s cheese bon bons with roasted beetroot puree and fresh raspberries (£6.95).
It arrived looking so pretty it seemed a shame to eat it, but it was gorgeous – an unexpected but perfect combination of flavours.
The selection of main courses was also fantastic, with classics such as steak and ale pie (£11.95), lamb’s liver and bacon (£11.50) and oven-baked haddock (£11.50).
The specials board offered some more sophisticated options, including seabass with new potato salad and stir fried vegetables (£13.95) and belly pork with bubble and squeak and mustard sauce (£11.95).
We chose from the main menu, opting for spinach and ricotta cannelloni, served with salad and crusty bread (£11.45) and grilled chicken breast, griddle cooked with a choice of sauce (mushroom, blue cheese or gravy), with hand-cut chips or new potatoes plus seasonal vegetables (£11.95).
The food didn’t take long to arrive and was, like the starter, well presented and really appetising.
This was home-cooked pub food at its best – tasty, comforting and great value for money.
The cannelloni was a match for any I’ve had in an Italian restaurant and my friend told me the chicken, and in particular the sauce, was delicious.
Feeling like we’d be missing out on a treat if we didn’t, we took the plunge and ordered dessert.
With the pub offering two courses for £15.95 or three for £18.95, we thought it would be rude not to – well, that’s our excuse! My vanilla cheesecake, served with a raspberry drizzle and summer fruits (£4.50) arrived looking a little melted, which was forgiven as soon as I tasted it.
My friend’s sticky toffee pudding with cream (£4.50) was a triumph and could have probably fed both of us.
So if you visit the Black Swan make sure you bring your appetite – it’s a rollercoaster ride of flavours.
Rating: 9 out of 10