The Gallery Restaurant

875 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

November, 2021

Product name

The Gallery Restaurant

Product country

Lavenham, Suffolk

Product city

Lavenham, Suffolk

Travelled with

Reasons for trip

Whilst booking our two-night stay at “The Swan”: in Lavenham, I also booked dinner in their “Gallery Restaurant”: for 7.30pm on our second night. As this was done over two months before our stay, it was slightly irritating to receive an email reminder beforehand confirming my table for 7pm. A phone call was made during which time the girl tried to persuade me to change my booking to 7pm, 7.15pm or 7.45pm, but I held firm and was told I’d receive another confirmation showing 7.30pm. This arrived, but my table for two, was now a table for five. During a second phone call, the same girl tried to convince me I’d booked for five people, despite me having a confirmation that I’d booked for two. Eventually, she found the explanation, there were two diners with the same surname and my booking had been changed in error.

Having looked at the menu online before our visit, I was surprised at its extent as it was relatively short with only four main courses, and I expected a fuller version or specials to be available to supplement it. In addition it wasn’t particularly exciting. On arrival, we were shown to a table in what is undoubtedly a magnificent, large, high ceilinged, timber framed restaurant. Tables for two were around the edge, and initially we were shown to one with places set opposite each other and we asked if we could change to one where we sat next to each other at right angles so that we both had a view of the dining room. We found it a little chilly and I was pleased I’d opted for trousers and a warm top (the dress code is smart casual), as I suspect the lady in the red taffeta off the shoulder cocktail dress, would be rather cold.

We were handed a menu which had the Gallery “menu”: on one half, and the “menu”: for the Mess Call 487 (a more casual restaurant) on the other, and we were told we could mix and match. Across the bottom was the festive menu with two courses for £28, but we felt it was a little too early for a turkey dinner.

Two large hunks of bread with butter pats were brought to the table on a slate, along with glasses of iced water. If I’m being picky, it would have been nice to have the bread warm. We started with glasses of prosecco and the Swan Sharing Board which came beautifully arranged. There was hummus, green olives, Parma ham, coarse pork terrine, local charcuterie, Norfolk White Lady cheese, chutney and according to the menu, warm bread. Once again, the bread wasn’t warm and everything felt as though it had just been taken out of the fridge, whereas the flavours would have developed if they had been allowed to come to room temperature.

Our mains were a butternut squash risotto with parmesan crips and pan-fried seabass with stir fried vegetables in an Asian sesame dressing and wasabi mayonnaise. Both were good but could not be described as exciting bearing in mind the reputation of the restaurant.

We were too full for pudding but finished with excellent coffee and Cointreau.
Service from what was essentially a young team was good, although they had to be reminded about the coffee.

We heard the lady on the table next to us saying that as a vegetarian, she was disappointed with the extent of choice as she was staying for two nights and having both lunches and dinners in the restaurant which offered the same menu at both. We had wisely chosen to eat out on our first night.

There were two wine lists, one which had their special selection i.e. expensive and a more reasonable list. We chose a bottle of the house Sauvignon Blanc for £28.
The overall bill was £116 and disappointingly bearing in mind the hassle I’d had with the reservation, there was no offer of a complimentary anything!

Overall, a pleasant meal in a grand setting but if you stay for more than one night, I’d definitely recommend eating out especially as there is a lot on offer.

Helen Jackson

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