8 out of 10
Inside is a fresh and bright place for a night away, with some nice touches from the chef's homeland.
8 / 10
The pub is in some of the loveliest countryside in Surrey, sitting on the corner of a pretty green between Esher and Claygate. It’s close to the Sandown Park Racecourse, and the nearest train station is a 10-minute walk away, with trains running every hour to London – journey time is 30 minutes. Esher High Street is 15 minutes away, and there are plenty of woodland and common walks close by.
8 / 10
José Pizarro took over the Swan Inn from previous chef Claude Bosi and has created a new look that is fresh and bright, but still casual. This is a pub for locals as much as a restaurant with rooms, but the area dictates that this is a discerning bunch. The dining room is bright, with lots of wood and leather upholstery, pale green paintwork and crystal chandeliers. There are a few nice Spanish touches – including the ornate but muted tilework in the guest showers, and legs of Jamón Ibérico hanging above the bar.
7 / 10
Some of the staff have been here years, and all are as friendly as could be. They are as knowledgeable about Pizarro’s menu and wine list as they are about the ales on tap. There’s a nice outdoor area attached to the pub, and tables in the front too – this is a lovely spot on a sunny day. Guest services and facilities are fairly limited; this is definitely a place for an overnight stay rather than luxury weekend break.
6 / 10
The smallish bedrooms are set over two levels in a separate building next to the pub. The beds are double rather than king-sized, but the linens and pillows are top quality. There’s a lack of mood lighting, but the bathrooms are nicely designed, with automatic lighting incorporating a sensor in the mirror, and eco-friendly refillable glass bottles for bathroom products.
9 / 10
Pizarro is the king of classic tapas – there’s nothing weird or deconstructed, it’s all about the finest produce imported directly from Spain, prepared with love. As well as the best, gummiest, Jamón Ibérico and croquetas there’s a knockout dish of grilled aubergine with honey and blue cheese, and a flavourful Scotch egg with black pudding and mint alioli. The wine list includes José Pizarro’s own reds, whites and sherries, and there’s a long list of innovative cocktails using Spanish ingredients, including an after-dinner espresso martini using PX sherry.
This is still a country pub though – there’s fish and chips on the menu every day, and a roast on Sundays, and the breakfast menu includes a superb bacon sandwich as well as the usual best friends of avocado and toast.
8 / 10
Double rooms from £100, year-round. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Travel cots can be provided on request.