So the last week I paid a visit to the The Choptank Old Town, Swindon. I’d heard that the place had a new chef and a new menu – now doing small plates – that I was keen to try. So last week an opportunity presented itself. Hurrah.

The Choptank Old Town
The Choptank Old Town

What’s in a name?

You’ll find this restaurant attached to the Royal Oak in Old Town at the far end of Devizes Rd – Newport Street. They have a Facebook page here.
And a webpage here – you can book a table from this.

About the chef

‘With a career spanning over two decades, chef Michael Hunter is renowned for his culinary mastery and creative flair. His innovative approach to food has earned him a dedicated following and numerous accolades throughout his career. Hunter’s passion for crafting memorable dining experiences aligns perfectly with the ethos of The Choptank within The Royal Oak.’

The article from Wigwam Property goes on to say:

‘Guests can look forward to a menu that reflects Hunter’s culinary expertise, featuring a blend of innovative and classic dishes that showcase the best of British and international cuisine. From thoughtfully crafted appetizers to mouthwatering main courses and delectable desserts, every dish at The Choptank @ The Royal Oak will be an unforgettable journey for the senses …’

How was it all?

The first thing I have to say is that the service was FAB. Having experienced hit and miss service in other Swindon establishments the appearance of water on the table, without having to ask twenty times, was a winner for a start!

Either the chef or the server explains the dishes to you – and they don’t come out en masse – but rather one or two at a time. I liked that.

Feeling in the mood to go for oysters to start, the guy waiting on persuaded me to go for the tempura oysters rather than the usual raw. I’m glad he did – I enjoyed them a great deal. I can’t remember all the plate prices now but I do recall this four-oyster starter came in at £14. I didn’t think that was at all bad all things considered.

My companion opted for the crispy mussels to start – I had a try – I thought they were scrummy too.

Mussels and tempura oysters at the Choptank
Mussels and tempura oysters at the Choptank

It wasn’t all perfect. For instance the bao buns underneath the delicious pulled pork were distinctly chewy. We fed that back and were recompensed there. I think perhaps the arancini, as delicious as they were, were a bit ‘thin’ apropos the chicken. And the mushroom thing (sorry forgotten what it was called) seemed to me to be v salty. But then I don’t salt my food (chips aside) so that might have been me.

Would I go back? Yes – absolutely. For the service and for it having a different to other gastronomic options in Swindon. Overall I found The Choptank an enjoyable and positive dining experience that I’d like to repeat.

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