Tag Archive: paired wines

  1. A Night at The Swan Inn with Paul Welburn

    Leave a Comment

    On a crisp and clear February evening, we were warmly welcomed into The Swan Inn, nestled in the beautiful Oxfordshire village of Islip.

    Headed up by Chef Patron Paul Welburn (who achieved a Michelin Star at The Oxford Kitchen), The Swan boasts cosy and stylish décor with a personal touch. The village’s roots are not forgotten with artwork from the local community up in the bar and restaurant.

    The history

    Before we get onto the food, a little about The Swan itself. A beautiful 17th century Cotswolds pub, it has frequently changed hands, and never quite found its place in the hearts of the locals. Until now. A group of four couples in the village approached Paul with a proposition – to make something really special – and The Swan was re-born. On arrival, the shiny, open kitchen is the first thing you see and the mouth-watering smells are a promise of what’s to come. The Swan boasts a cosy bar area, which you can relax in before moving through to the Cygnet restaurant and bar.

    A must-see feature? The immaculately and inventively decorated toilets. They are themed, one in the style of each couple, and range from a London nightclub-inspired disco to Henley Regatta. The artwork, and sculptures are also captivating.

    The impressive bar within the Cygnet Restaurant

    The Tasting Menu

    The four course tasting menu is £60 per person and changes each week so you have to keep coming back for more. And you’ll definitely want to! With a flight of paired wines at £40 per person, we’ve booked ourselves in again!

    Paul’s innovative take on sesame prawn toast

    Bread and Snacks

    We started off with delicious warm bread, accompanied by salted butter and yeast butter – both divine. Paul created some delicious amuse bouches including his signature trout ceviche tartlets with gin and tonic coulis. A bold and innovative take on sesame prawn toast was plated in our Copper Tri-Ply mini frying pan and elevated a family favourite to fine dining heights. Our Copper Tri-Ply Range is especially fab for serving up dishes. Check out what else we love about it here!

    These snacks went perfectly with a bold mango cocktail. The Cygnet boasts an excellent wine and cocktail list, with their bartenders happy to whip up whatever takes your fancy!

    Each course celebrated a key ingredient. The carrot for starters, halibut in the fish dish, pork for the main, and pear for dessert. These ingredients absolutely sang and each dish was a completely new take on anything we have had before.

    The joy of the Cygnet is that the menu changes every few weeks so there are always new and exciting culinary journies to be had! The produce is all locally sourced and is a real celebration of British products.


    Paul’s starter was a whole carrot, cooked in its own juices, with dukkah, goats curd and black garlic. It was a true celebration of the carrot as we’ve never seen it before!

    Charred carrot, dukkah, whipped goat’s curd, black garlic


    The baby gem, caper and raisin puree was a real highlight of the halibut dish, which was topped off by a lemongrass velouté. The fish was melt-in-the-mouth, and combined with the rich flavours, was probably my favourite dish!

    The divine halibut dish

    Look at that crackling tweel!


    A pork fillet and slow cooked collar, sage dumplings, ‘chutney’ sauce and radish was the main event. Impressively topped with a crackling tweel, the slow cooked collar melted in the mouth and, combined with the sage dumpling, was a real winter treat.

    The ‘chutney’ sauce packed a punch and was full of flavour. The sage and radish cut through the rich pork. If you’re doing the wine pairing, you won’t be disappointed. Accompanying this wintery main was a full-bodied German 2020 Pinot Noir. It’s a testament to the thoughtfulness behind the wine pairings that we had never had a German Pinot Noir before, and it complimented the dish perfectly.


    Continuing along the theme of warming winter flavours, the sticky pear pudding with butterscotch sauce and iced pear was joyous.

    This little corner of culinary heaven is just what the area needs. It’s delicious fine dining at affordable prices. The welcoming, friendly atmosphere of a village pub lives on, but it is now so much more than a pub. The Swan is also a 10 minute walk from the train station, with direct trains to London in just over an hour. It really is a must-visit destination, perfect for family dinners, celebrations, date night, or just a bit of a treat. Book on their website now!

    Written by Eliza

  2. An Evening at Jude Kereama’s Kota Restaurant in Porthleven

    Leave a Comment

    Over the Easter weekend we were lucky enough to visit chef Jude Kereama’s flagship restaurant Kota in the heart of coastal Porthleven, Cornwall. It was a truly phenomenal culinary experience that went beyond its Michelin Bib Gourmand and 3 AA Rosettes.

    If you want to extend your stay, Kota even has some gorgeous accommodation that can be found here and we thoroughly recommend exploring Porthleven and surrounding areas including Marazion (home to St Michael’s Mount!)

    We did the 6-course Tasting Menu with paired wines and thoroughly reccomend. Here’s what we had…

    Cocktails and Oysters 


    We kicked things off with some refreshing cocktails, one Yuzu Sake and Cucumber Martini (House infused wakame vodka, yuzu macerated sake, lime, sugar and cucumber), and one Kota Fizz (House infused cucumber vodka, elderflower liqueur, Prosecco, cucumber twist).

    Now, when you’re eating in a harbour on the Cornish coast, you absolutely must have oysters (or we think so anyway!) We ordered two of each, one a Tempura with baby gem, wasabi tartare, and pickled cucumber and the other a Natural oyster with rice wine cucumber granita, ponzu lime dressing. We were advised by the staff to ‘chew’ the natural oyster rather than the traditional ‘down in one’ approach to oysters and boy was it a treat! The granita was such an intense burst of flavour it really brought the oyster and its flavours of the sea to life. And this was just the beginning…


    Amuse Bouche


    The Miso Butter with the Amuse Bouche was another show-stealer and we could have had a whole starter portion of the soup which was zingy and had a great depth of flavour.






    The first course was a Scallop with crispy onions, leeks and XO Sauce. I’m not sure I’ve had XO Sauce before and it was a real delight. Sweet and spicy, it lifted the scallop and was one of my favourite dishes of the night – such an inspired combination of flavours!




    Venison Tartare & Katsu Panko Fish Goujon

    We parted ways on this course and had one meat option and one pescatarian. The first was a venison tartare, hazelnuts, apple, celeriac, gochujang dressing and the pescatarian alternative was a Panko coated white fish goujon, katsu curry sauce, carrot & daikon pickle. The apple and celeriac cut through the naturally rich venison deliciously whilst the goujon was hands down the best fish goujon we’ve had!





    The favourite dish of the menu was the Monkfish dish: Crispy Kataifi wrapped monkfish, hake, lemongrass, kafir lime leaf & coconut bisque, yuzu saffron mayo. The bisque was velvety, and to-die-for whilst the Kataifi wrapped monkfish was unlike anything we’ve seen before. Just as with the cocktail back at the beginning, yuzu was used in such an inventive way, elevating all the flavours.






    Next was a Moorland dry aged sirloin, short rib, beets, and horseradish. Just look at the colours on that plate! We think it speaks for itself! Such incredible flavours…




    Honey & almond cake


    Ok, coming up is one of the most interesting (and delicious) things we’ve ever tasted. We’d not had it before but the goat’s cheese sorbet was fantastic. It wasn’t too sharp, the sorbet was soft, and it was the perfect accompaniment to a honey-based cake. The whole dish consisted of lemon, thyme & honey syrup, goats cheese sorbet, and a walnut crumb. As if this wasn’t the perfect ending to an amazing tasting menu, there was more…




    Baked Alaska

    This chocolate, hazelnut & cherry baked alaska was delightful. The mousse inside was so light and technically really impressive. Served with a 10 year-old Tawny Port, it was a magical ending to the menu. The cherries and crumb gave such a satisfying crunch – a real, indulgent treat!

    Despite being very full, we still managed some delicious petit fours afterwards (see left).


    All in all…

    This is a meal we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Jude’s team took such great care of us and we couldn’t recommend visiting Kota more. Check out the menu here and book now. There are lots of great options but if you can, go for the six course tasting menu. You won’t regret it!