Nestled on the banks of the river Bure, The Swan Inn at Horning is in a rather picturesque location. Geese and ducks often wander past and the garden overlooks the busy river. If you’re cruising down the broads you can moor your boat up outside and pop in. The Swan Inn has recently had a refurbishment and launched a new menu which has lots of options for vegans and those that are gluten free – hooray! So a couple of weeks ago I stopped by on a Saturday afternoon with my friend Jaison to check it out.
This ancient village is packed full of old world charm and is a great place to escape to for a few hours. Part of the Swan Inn at Horning dates back to 1696, with most of it being built in the early 19th Century. The red brick and half-timbered exterior gives a nod to the history and makes it easy to spot! Inside the decor is beautiful, it’s on trend and modern but with little period touches. Muted teal and white wood panelling line the walls, pictures of Horning in years gone by hanging proudly. The dark, ornate wooden furniture, with lashings of oxblood red, give a sense of the history of the place. The inn feels comfortable and homely. It’s the sort of place that you could while away an afternoon – making the most of the river views in the summer and hunkering down on cooler winter evenings.
The Swan Inn at Horning has such a wide-ranging menu. Choose from traditional pub classics like steaks and fish and chips, healthier options such as salad and modern classics like stone-baked pizza and fish dishes. They also have a delicious looking vegan menu, options for those like me who are gluten-free and fixed priced menus. There’s something for everyone – the hardest bit is choosing what you want!
After much deliberation and duck watching out the window, we decided to go for the box-baked camembert to share as a starter. I chose the kale and cauliflower couscous salad with triple cooked chips. Jaison went for the seared fillet of sea bass with crushed baby potatoes, asparagus and a lobster and samphire sauce.
The camembert was gorgeous. It was the perfect size to share and had the all-important crispy top and creamy gooey centre. The dish would normally be served with rustic bread but we swapped it for the gluten-free version. I was pleasantly surprised at how bread like it was (gluten-free bread is either lovely or nasty and dissolves in your mouth – it’s always a gamble!) I liked the fact there was both bread and the light and refreshing celery, so you don’t get too full on bread and ruin your main course!
Next up was the light, zingy and refreshing kale and cauliflower couscous salad. This was one of the many options on the vegan menu and sounded incredible. It was one of those healthy dishes that actually tasted like a treat. The pineapple and ginger dressing added a nice zing, whilst the pomegranate added sweetness and the pumpkin seeds added an earthy crunch. The tender stem broccoli was cooked al dente – just how I like it, and the roasted butternut squash and sweet potato were creamy and soft. It was a well-balanced dish that I would eat again and again!
The triple cooked chips were out of this world! They were so crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside – aka the perfect chip.
Jaison said, “the seabass was well cooked and beautifully presented. The lobster and samphire pulled the whole dish together which provided a delightful tasting experience with an excellent combination of textures.”
Desserts and coffee
By this point, I was happily full and decided to forgo one of the amazing looking desserts and opt for a black coffee with amaretto, which quite frankly was divine. It also had the added bonus of tasting like something sweet. So if you’re ever full and have a hankering for something sweet spice up your coffee!
Jaison chose one of the Swan Inn’s coffees with a mini pudding. “The Eaton mess was a healthy portion, for a small dessert. It was a great end to the meal with the fresh cream and berries blending together for a great taste sensation and the meringue gave a bit of crunch for added depth.” It’s safe to say he was very happy with the food.
If you’re a beer drinker of a gin lover you’ll like it here! The pub serves a range of cask ales, craft beers, British gins and low alcohol options. Their wine list looked rather impressive too.
Good to know
Alongside the vegan menu and gluten-free options, there are also fixed-price menus, roasts on a Sunday and pie nights on Wednesdays. Both dogs and children are welcome here. Little people have their own menu where they can build their own dinner. Horning is just down the road from Bewilderwood, so it would be a great place to head after a family day out.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the pub doesn’t have a car park. However, they are right next door to a pay and display car park (you’ll need to bring change.) There’s free parking at the village hall and on the side of the road if you can grab a spot.
There’s not much to not love about The Swan Inn at Horning! The views are stunning, the pub feels homely, the customer service is great and there’s a huge range of freshly cooked delicious food. It was great to see so many healthy options on the menu too. I for one will be coming back! Hopefully, the weather will be better on my next visit as it would be lovely to go on a wander down the river and explore the village.
For more information on the Swan Inn at Horning click here. You’ll also be able to see the stunning view on a summers day – not in the torrential rain above!