The Black Swan, located at Cecil Street and operated by the Lo and Behold group, has been around for quite a long time now, and I've only been there once previously for their drinks, which I wasn't very impressed with as they were far too diluted for my liking (I'm used to drinks from 28HK and Jigger where they come really strong). So admittedly, it hadn't been on my radar to visit The Black Swan for dinner, even though the ambience is really lovely. But when YT decided to pay them a visit because her relative was/is working there, I decided - why not! So off we went.
The decor / ambience is still as classy as I remember it to be; an old-style cavern replete with high ceilings, dark panelling, art-deco style, and lots of pizzazz. It's actually done up very tastefully, and I really enjoy the ambience. Great for people watching too, I hear. While waiting, we popped a Gin and Tonic which was pretty enjoyable - made from a "flower" gin recommended by YT. The name eludes me really.
We shared a platter of oysters to start: Katana Bay and Wellfleets. The Katana Bay oysters were great, very briny and crisp and actually very delicious (I actually liked the brine) (8/10) and the Wellfleets which were a bit more creamy, less briny, and slightly sweet and mineralish (8/10). You can't go wrong with oysters so long as they are fresh and kept in a proper condition.
For my mains, I had The Black Swan's signature Burger, which came with fries, and topped with cheese and a sunny side-up egg and served with some rashers of bacon on the side. This was not bad at all; what did it for me was the bun, which was toasted till it was really delicious. Slightly crusty, with a slight toasted flavour. The beef was good too; the use of onions helped quite a bit. Perhaps not as intense as I would have liked but then again I was suffering from the flu, so it wasn't a fair assessment. Still a very good burger: 8/10.
What really killed the day for me was the dessert of Sticky Date Toffee Pudding. Now, that was some awesome stuff. There was a lovely flavour of toffee, dates, and molasses - and a slight hint of dark rum; just the right amount of sweetness in the caramel sauce which was just sticky enough to coat the pudding sufficiently; and a slightly toasted, burnt flavour in the pudding which was delicious. This was what distinguishes this pudding from the plethora of other good options (PS Cafe; Marmalade Pantry) - that burnt taste which went so well with the banana and the molasses and toffee. Then you have the texture - which was again very nice - chewy and firmer on the edges just like a good 'crust'. I would come here just for the sticky date toffee pudding alone really. A firm (9.25/10)
Overall, The Black Swan has impressed with the food. I will come back for the others. A lovely effort, especially the exceptional Sticky Date.