Swan at Shakespeare's Globe

Restaurants, British South Bank
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
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A modern British restaurant next to the Globe Theatre.

What’s in a view, eh? A lot, if the Swan – a modern British restaurant attached to Bankside’s Shakespearean theatre – is anything to go by. Get a seat facing a window; by night the riverside aspect of an illuminated St Paul’s is a stunner. It’s a lovely room too: smart, chic and airy, a foil to the rammed bar downstairs. And the food? Swan’s exec chef is one Allan Pickett, late of smart French restaurant Piquet, so it’s a bit disappointing that, for the most part, the modern British cooking is wilfully one-note despite the picture-perfect presentation.

Things started well. A dish of sliced, near-translucent scallops with tiny blobs of squid-ink mayo and apple was rich and singular tasting, the marinated molluscs possessed of a cool, creamy bitterness. A massive pork croquette with a tart burnt-apple sauce was equally good.

However, main courses were mixed. A Cornish fish stew featured an impressive pile of mullet, mussel, scallop, bream and nicely bitey saffron potatoes, but the white-fish elements were interchangeable tastewise. But it was better than both a salty plate of slow-cooked ox cheek and a pretty dish of pea and shallot tortellini that demanded a broth rather than the thick pea puree it came with.

Still, full marks to the ‘floating island’ dessert, a cloud-light poached meringue bobbing in a fine custard, flecked with tiny nobbles of pink praline and chopped pistachio. It was one of the prettiest puds I’ve seen in aeons, and is a must for the sweet-toothed.

Missteps aside, Swan is a decent option for canny pre- and post-theatre diners in this relatively barren stretch of the South Bank (though not a cheap one). And it’s worth a trip just for that view.

By: Tom Howells

Posted:

Venue name: Swan at Shakespeare's Globe
Contact:
Address: 21 New Globe Walk
London
SE1 9DT
Transport: Tube: London Bridge
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £105.
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|8
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Alexandra L
Tastemaker

Sat right beside the Globe in the heart of London’s Southbank, the Swan is a gorgeous restaurant, bright, airy and perfect for brunching at window tables lit by streams of sunshine, ideal for lunching as you overlook the passers-by who Instagram the thatched roof & white walls of the neighbouring theatre and impeccably placed for dining as the sun goes down and the tourist throngs of the day are gently washed away by couples enjoying the romance of the river.


Breakfast here is a simple affair; the menu is small but quite lovely offering everything from eggs to pancakes, brioche buns to kippers, pastries to a full English. My tip would be to go for the in-house, home-made muesli which comes loaded with dried apricots & cranberries and with a choice of coconut yoghurt & Bermondsey honey or Greek yoghurt & berry compote. Take a friend, get both and split a portion of the toasted Borough sourdough which is also excellent.


Service is low key but friendly and whilst booth style tables along the windows are glorious for people watching, the long communal tables down the centre of the room would be a great shout for a group of friends needing a spot in which to hunker down and brunch like (very relaxed) kings. 


This is not a local spot for me but I have to say it’s charming enough for me to totally jump on the bus and mosey down here of a weekend for some more of that sourdough and people watching; it’s blend of history & modernity is really something special and at the moment, when it feels like the ever defiant spirit of London could do with a little hand holding and spirit soothing, enjoying a place like this is one of the best ways to do just that.

Lu

It would be worth booking into the Swan for the setting alone - summer evening (very tasty) cocktails over looking the Thames are truly hard to beat. However, the Swan is more than just a pretty face, the food is - particularly for a pre-theatre menu - really very good.  It's slightly on the pricey side - but what can you expect with the setting and its pairing to the globe. Earn off your meal with standing cheap seats - and you've nearly got a not-too-expensive dinner + theatre night out!

Chris
Tastemaker

A great bar with stunning riverside views, but can get busy during performances at the Globe. They also run the small cafe in the Globe foyer which sells one of the best brownies I've ever tasted (top tip).

Daniel L
Tastemaker

This is one of the best theatre restaurants in London. They do private events as well, which I had the pleasure of attending. The setting is really great and you do feel like you are drinking on a historic site hundreds of years ago. The venue is comfortable and well lit and the crowd that this place attracts is intellectual and outgoing. I will definitely be back, especially pre or post theatre!

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

I like this pub, it has good views of the river and is good for a pre/post theater meal if you are going to be the globe. Food has always been pleasant each time I have gone. 

Inessa K

Best place to go after the show, before the show or during the interval, or while seating in the groundling queue, or just for a loud drink...

Doug
0 of 1 found helpful

After sitting down for our 1.30pm booking at 2pm I was apprehensive. The guy next to me ordered a glass of wine three time in fifteen minutes but was repetitively being asked if he would like coffee. But the menu looked good so we ordered. During the wait we had two wines delivered to which my wife asked the waiter for tap water, as he walked away hurriedly we muttered that we need to ask 'our' waiter. Rude. The meals were bunch, and it was obvious that they cook in batches, not fresh for each order. The toast, black pudding, the muffins (under the eggs Benedict), rosti were rock hard. They were probably good a few days ago, but time had hardened them to inedible. The restaurant was chaotic, loud, and infuriating. How they proport to feed you in time for a show at the amazing Globe- I have no idea. Never again.

Special Offers

River View Menu: 3 courses & a glass of sparkling wine £24.50

River View Menu with a complimentary glass of Chapel Down English Sparkling Rosé. Not available on bank holidays, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers, not available on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays.

Offer valid until Jun 29 2017