It’s a long wait for emma dunn and her mum at the Cold Harbour at Blunsdon, but worth it for some fantastic food

The Cold Harbour

Ermin Street


Swindon SN26 8DJ

Tel: 01793 724840

GOOD things come to those who wait... so I had high hopes when our meals arrived nearly an hour after we first walked into the Cold Harbour in Blunsdon.

It was about 7.40pm on Wednesday when we walked into the pub, and the place was heaving, to my surprise.

My mum was visiting Swindon for the evening and she needed to set off home at 9pm – an hour and 20 minutes seemed a reasonable amount of time for dinner.

The manager, Jas, met us at the entrance and said there would be a 15-minute wait for a table in the restaurant.

But thinking we would still be okay for time if we chose what we wanted from the menu while we waited, we sat at a table by the bar with our drinks and browsed the choices.

This isn’t your average pub grub. Choices included honey glazed belly pork (£12.49), roasted rump of lamb (£13.99) and grilled sea bass (£11.99), and the starters look impressive too, with sticky beef noodles (£4.99), tandoori chicken (£5.49) and seared king scallops (£6.49) looking particularly appetising.

But with time being tight, we decided to skip the starters and go straight for the mains.

I went for a stilton and butternut squash risotto (£9.79) while my mum went for the fish pie (£12.49), and no sooner had we ordered than we were shown to our table in the restaurant area.

It was 8pm by this time, and there were people at every table. There was a great lively feel, and we took that as a good sign – it was clearly a good place to eat.

We were slightly worried when we saw there were a few other people waiting for food, and after about half an hour we could see they were still waiting like us.

It was 8.30pm at this point, but we remained optimistic.

It was 40 minutes after we placed our order that Jas finally brought our meals to us, but mine was certainly worth the wait.

The risotto was the perfect balance between sticky and wet – something I’ve never managed to master in my own kitchen.

It had plenty of mushrooms, butternut squash and semi-dried tomatoes, and it really was superb. The stilton had melted down into a delicious creamy sauce and complimented the flavours well.

My mum said the pie, which included salmon, clams, prawns, haddock, peas and white wine sauce, had good quality seafood in it. But some of the sauce must have evaporated in the cooking process, and I could see it looked very dry under the mashed potato.

However, she said the seasonal vegetables were well cooked and clearly fresh. If it wasn’t for the sauce in the pie going missing, the dish would have been a winner.

With time ticking on, I paid the bill while mum was finishing her dinner just a few minutes before 9pm.

I will be sure to return to the Cold Harbour in the future – the quality of the food was great, and it was clearly freshly made.

The pub had a lovely atmosphere and the decor and furnishings were pleasant. The service was good too and the staff were always polite and helpful.

Next time, though, I will make sure I book a table in advance, no matter what night of the week it is. I’ll also be sure to allow a bit more time for the food to arrive.