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“So disappointing”

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Bistro @ The Swan at Hay
Ranked #27 of 32 Restaurants in Hay-on-Wye
Price range: US$26 - US$32
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Reservations
Description: Located in the Victorian market town of Hay-on-Wye in the Welsh Marshes, The Swan hotel is set in a snug 'n' cosy grade 2 listed Georgian coaching inn. Literary luvvies and local food lovers are regulars in the hotel's two restaurants ��� the formal dining room, which serves dinner and Sunday lunches, and the less formal bistro which serves lunch and informal dinners. The hotel also has a garden ideal for summer al fresco dining. Head Chef Harry Mackintosh has created a traditional British menu with favourites including the pan-seared scallops with sunblushed tomatoes and orange sauce; the duck breast served with herb mash and chorizo cassoulet; and the classic Eton mess with crushed meringue, Chantilly cream and raspberries.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“So disappointing”
Reviewed 20 June 2014

We decided to go to The Swan for a meal as it was a lovely evening and we know they have a delightful garden as we have eaten there before. Unfortunately most of the tables and chairs were covered in bird poo and they seemed to be short on staff. Stupidly, we still ate there and the meal was mediocre at best. My husband had tiger prawns to start - these had been incinerated beyond belief and there was hardly anything left to eat. The service was poor and we had to go looking for someone in order to pay the bill. There are plenty of nice places to eat in Hay and we certainly won't be returning to The Swan.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Lynn P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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62 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    20
    15
    9
    9
    9
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Glasgow
Level 6 Contributor
660 reviews
364 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 538 helpful votes
“Good food, limited menu”
Reviewed 7 June 2014

I'm feeling ambivalent about our experience here. The bistro lacks atmosphere and has a very limited menu. There was no music and the service was rather perfunctory. On the positive side, the food we ordered was good if not as described on the menu, eg the duck with puy lentils was served with mash instead with no forewarning from the waiter. The duck fat was not well rendered so I couldn't eat it which was disappointing but the dish was otherwise very tasty. The smoked salmon starter was delicious and the portion generous; the ham hock was very good but the portion was small. Customers for the bar kept drifting through the bistro and the waiting staff would disappear for long periods. Although we enjoyed dinner, we wouldn't go back. This is a hotel but the feeling is that the bar is the core business and dining is a sideline.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank fmck49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rocklin, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“wonderful chef!!!!”
Reviewed 5 June 2014

We had the wonderful opportunity to stay at The Swan at Hay for 2 nights. And the great chance to have one of the best meals of a month long trip, cooked by Harry Machintosh. It was beautifully prepared and truly enjoyed.
And the hotel is charming...pay a little more and stay in room 3.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank designcbw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Rather nice meal”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

We met some friends for a meal here and the food was rather good! I had a salad nicoise - they had remembered the anchovies and it was tasty. My companions enjoyed their broad bean risotto and fried chicken. My Bellini was over heavy on the peach juice but water and sparkling water arrived rapidly with ice and lemon. Slightly frustrating that the special was on the blackboard but unavailable (come on -apply the blackboard rubber if you have run out) and the poached pears were 'orf' - really? However pleasant experience - and I would go back.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Prehistoric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thouars, France
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Dinner after the Hay Literature Festival”
Reviewed 27 May 2014

If you're looking for a good meal and a half decent bottle of wine after a day walking around the Hay Literature Festival, then there aren't many better places in Hay to get a bite.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Swcodfather
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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