An awful experience! Probably the worst meal of my life.

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Guest's review of The Swan Pangbourne

“An awful experience! Probably the worst meal of my life.”


written by on 09/08/2011

From the roadside The Swan looks really inviting. An historic river-side English pub, it looks the perfect location.

We arrived at about 4:30pm on a Tuesday 9th August 2011. There were about 20 other customers in the place.

We ordered two kid's meals - Scampi & Chips and Sausage & Mash, and two adult meals - Surf & Turf burger and Ham, Egg & Chips. With two alcoholic drinks and two soft drinks the total came to just under £50.

The food arrived after about half an hour, and that's when we realised what a mistake we had made! This is the lowest quality pre-packaged junk excuse for food available, apparently cooked by people with no culinary skill other than how to drop something into a deep-fat fryer and operate a microwave, and handled with not a shred of care or awareness for the customer experience.

The first warning sign was the sad face of the caterpillar looking up at me from the lettuce on my burger. His body ripped and spreading black goo across the leaf. Luckily the bun was served open so I could see what had been prepared for me before consuming. I handed the offending leaf to the waiter(manager?) who apologetically took it away.

I looked down at the burger and upon seeing three small orange curled 'things' I recalled the menu had read: Tiger prawns in tempura batter. This was not tempura batter. This was some sort of manufactured crust . The burger was a cheap grey, tasteless, disgusting disappointment. I persevered through a third of it but by this time I was so disappointed by the rest of the food on the table I had lost my appetite.

The fried eggs were overcooked with crispy darkened edges and hard yolk. The scampi coating was like cardboard surrounding barely warm mush. The sausages were clearly microwaved with that tell-tale impenetrable texture.

When asked, after about ten minutes if everything was alright with the meal, I told the waitress that it wasn't, stating that the children's food was barely edible and the adult's food was of the lowest quality. I told her that I didn't expect to pay for all of it and asked her to consult the manger. I didn't expect a full refund as we were in a situation where our children had to eat something before the drive back home, so they had all the mash, chips, ham and peas which were salvageable form the plates.

The waitress returned after some time with the £13.90 which we had paid for the two kid's meals. Not an ideal compensation for such a terrible meal but I accepted and we left, safe in the knowledge that we would never return, and that I would use the power of the internet to make aware as many people as possible of the awful experience we had just suffered at The Swan in Pangbourne.

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