The White Swan, Shawell

February 10, 2013

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young Midlands chef with big ambition and talent to match is likely to pitch up in London. Fortunately for the rest of us there comes a time when they’ve had enough of the pressure cooker and look to return home. Sometimes it’s because they want a more human place to bring up a family, or maybe they just compare the costs of setting up a restuarant in Mayfair or taking over a pub in Leicestershire. I think of Brian Baker at the Marquess of Exeter, Dameon Clarke at the Wicked Witch and Adam Grey at The Red Lion in East Haddon as among the local boys who’ve returned from ostensibly more glamourous careers.

News now reaches me of another wanderer returned. Rugby lad Rory McClean has spells with Angela Hartnett at the Connaught, Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social and Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley on his CV, but has now taken over the White Swan at Shawell, just south of Lutterworth. The 17th century pub has been renovated inside and out and looks modern and smart with lots of light oak, comfy sofas and so on.

There’s an all day pub food menu with the likes of rabbit scotch egg, chorizo arrancini and venison burger, and then a proper a la carte menu in the evening. This looks rather attractive with starters such as Orkney scallops with egg,peas and bacon and mains including suckling pig with black pudding, apple and cider and roast Northfield Farm duck with lentils.There’s a great looking winelist and Leicestershire real ales from Dow Bridge of Catthorpe are on offer. It’s not been open long and I’ve not seen any reviews but everything looks promising. Good luck and welcome home Rory.

[Edit – see also this quick review from later in the year]

White Swan Restaurant

White Swan Restaurant

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Comedy festival cook-off

February 5, 2013

At 2pm on a Saturday I’m generally twitching with nerves with the build up to City’s next tilt at joining the monstrous Premiership circus. If you are somewhat more relaxed, you might like to consider popping down to Chutney Ivy over the next three Saturdays for a comedy cooking event. The Halford St restaurant is sort of rebranded as Dave’s Curry House for the duration of the Leicester Comedy Festival and on three Saturday afternoons hosts cook-offs between pairs of comedians under direction of manager Shaf Islam.

Dave's curry
The events are free but ticketed and kick-off is 2pm. You can book and see full details here.

Should be worth it just to see how the comics manage to shoehorn a Richard III/carpark reference into the cooking of a curry. Speaking of which, Richard Buckley (I know you are out there) – many congratulations. We’re very proud of you.

And one more thing, congratulations also to Jaimon Thomas of Kayal, who has now opened the fourth branch of the Keralan restaurant and the first in that there South. The new branch is in West Byfleet, a few yards off the M25 near Woking.

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