Great food, greater company at the Betsey Wynne, Swanbourne

Grilled rosso prawns with chilli, and flatbread
If you read my last post, you’ll know we recently went out for dinner with friends. It was long overdue and much needed. We had also never been to the Betsey Wynne at Swanbourne before – in fact, I had no idea where it was. From the photos online, it looked beautiful, so naturally, I was really looking forward to it.

The Betsey Wynne is part of the Oakman Inns chain, and actually I figured that out by the décor and the fact there were wood-fired pizzas on the menu – we had been to The Akeman at Tring before, and it was giving me the same vibes.

There were six of us, and we sat inside, which was fine. We had a really large table at the back of the restaurant – with a gorgeous view through the pub garden and surrounding green spaces. It was particularly lovely, early evening. The outdoor area was fitted out with garlands of fairy lights, and large parasols on the table – so magical. I have to say, we lucked out with the table, as I found some of the other areas a bit dingy. No such hardships for us – lots of light, open space, just perfect for setting the scene.

Of course, the usual rules were in place – the wearing of masks throughout the restaurant, unless seated; the track and trace QR codes at the entrance and bar area; and of course, no queuing at the bar to get drinks. We had to wait for our table, but by the time we figured out how to order drinks on the app, our server guided us to the table and took our order immediately… a bottle of fizz for the ladies was high on the agenda!

I believe there’s also a reduced menu at current – not that you’d notice. There was still plenty of choice, ranging from those freshly-cooked pizzas and pasta dishes, to salads, grills and burgers, and even ‘home comforts’. As a group, we decided we’d have starters. Now I’m never usually a starter person, however, there were lots of options – and things you wouldn’t usually see on every menu.

The grilled rosso prawns sounded delicious. I had decided on a seafood main course by that point, so gave them a miss. It was a decision I regretted for a moment, as a member of the party had the prawns – and they were incredible. So big and juicy – and I think five of them, so ample for a starter.

Mozzarella bruschetta
I went for the mozzarella bruschetta, which was really nice. A large piece of grilled sourdough, topped with garlic & basil marinated chopped tomatoes, and a whole ball of mozzarella. So fresh and delicious – and actually, surprisingly light. We all lucked out with our starters, with another member of the group ordering the chorizo scotch egg, and the honey & mustard chipolatas also went down a treat!

For the main courses, we worked our way through the different sections of the menu: pasta, burgers, grills, and vegetarian options were enjoyed. The 10oz gammon steak, with chips and egg proved popular. The men tucked into steaks and burgers (double patty, too). Our vegetarian diner went for the no-beef meatballs, which came served with garlic flatbread, and randomly, a ramekin of peas. And I went for that seafood pasta.

Crab and rosso prawn bucatini
It was something I was immediately drawn to. Crab and rosso prawn bucatini. I knew it would complement the fizz nicely and would be perfect for a pre-summers evening. I have to admit though, I was a little disappointed. Having seen those gorgeous prawns on the starter, I was expecting more than one atop of my pasta, maybe even prawns within the dish and not just the crabmeat. The crabmeat itself blended into the sauce too much for my liking and was lacking that distinct fishy flavour. I think I may have lucked out in the past with a similar dish.

Read more: Pre-lockdown family dinner at The Greedy Italian

To be honest, I had my heart set on the pasta and didn’t have back-up, but in hindsight – and having looked back at the menu – I should have just gone for the steak, or maybe even the cod al forno. I don’t even remember what was on the specials that night, but there was nothing that really took my fancy!

We forewent puddings for an after-dinner drinks course instead. There were a large selection of gins behind the bar, and most of the group tried one of those. Had I not been working the next day, I’d have gone for an espresso martini for sure. Instead, I had a Caribbean Cooler (Sailor Jerry rum, pineapple juice, lime, vanilla syrup, Angostura bitters) – which went down far too easily.

We had been worried that we’d only have the table for a restricted time – 1.5 to 2 hours – and it would feel like such a rush. That wasn’t the case at all, and we were in no way hurried. In fact, I’m sure we left well after 10:30pm. In places, the service seemed a little slow. I could understand it though, after being closed for so long and finally getting back into the swing of things. It gave us a chance to chat and relax. We rarely go out without Alfie, so I thoroughly made the most of it. Apparently, he was an absolute dream.

I elude back to the title. We had great food, greater company – I’m sure we will return. In fact, I spy bottomless brunch!

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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