Swallow has an unaffected charm, good drinks, a compact but serviceable wine list, a few beers, a cheery, busy vibe and a small card of dishes ranging from snacks to substantial. There’s not a tattoo or a man bun to be seen, yet it is as cool as an arctic night.
If you’re lucky, grab one of the six seats at the bar and settle in. There’s also a wall of booths and a courtyard out the back, with tables. The shabbiness, random framed pictures on the walls, vintage train seats, a vase of fresh roses on the bar, chalk-board specials and assorted bric-a-brac are a bit like Nan’s front room, if Nan liked an Old Fashioned in a heavy-bottomed cocktail glass.
The food swerves toward well-executed comfort. Minute steak with frites and a salad of cos and tarragon dressing was smashing. The steak was soft as butter, nicely rare and cross-hatched from the grill. You could have cut it with a spoon. Spinach and gruyere croquettes are banging: deep green on the inside – loads of sweated, chopped spinach – and bound with a light, loose, nutty-cheesy béchamel.
Swallow is one of those rare suburban gems, sophisticated, adult, proper but a lot of casual fun and loose as a goose.