FOOD REVIEW: The Black Swan, Belper

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The Black Swan takes centre stage in Belper Market Place and is one of the town’s most popular pubs.

It is busy day and night with pub-goers enjoying the cosy bar area during the colder months, as well as the outside tables on the market during the summer. I headed there one evening recently with my partner to try out the venue’s much-vaunted pub food. The downstairs area where meals are usually served is currently closed for refurbishment, so we were seated in a snug section of the main bar.

We ordered drinks at the bar and then perused the menu from the blackboard.

What strikes you straight away is the range of different options – as well as the very reasonable prices. There is an appetising selection of small plates for starters or snacks, including patatas bravas, squid coated in paprika and bourbon barbecue ribs.

The offerings for main courses are equally impressive.

I had enjoyed the Black Swan burger on a previous visit, and there was also a tempting chicken Madras burger, rib eye steak and a slow-cooked lamb tagine.

We opted to share some nachos with chilli beef to start. For our mains, I chose spicy Thai fishcakes and my partner opted for scampi.

The friendly waitress took our orders promptly and we had only a short wait before our nachos arrived.

They were a proper feast in themselves – deep fried tortilla chips smothered in salsa, cheese, sour cream and jalapeños with a very healthy portion of chilli beef.

The starter had done the job of getting our taste buds going and our main courses promptly arrived.

The fishcakes were delicious, with a crispy coating and smooth filling. The salad was tasty and fresh – not something you can always say about pub salads – while the chips were perfectly crispy. My partner also commented on how delicious the chips were and was full of praise for her scampi.

Overall, we were very impressed with the Black Swan – delicious, affordable pub food in a pleasant atmosphere with friendly service.

Highly recommended.

Our rating: 9/10