When in doubt, pig out – The Pig Hotel, New Forest

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the pig hotel

‘This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none, and this (not so) little piggy went, “Wee wee wee” all the way home…’ (in Brokenhurst, New Forest).

I had the pleasure of visiting the ‘Pig Hotel‘ a few weeks ago. For those of you not in the know, The Pig is an affordable, shabby chic countryside hotel, and the rebellious kid sister of 5* haven ‘The Limewood Hotel’.

The focus is very much on the food and as such is more a restaurant with rooms. Head chef James Golding has worked in the Kitchens of Mark Hix, Soho House NYC and Caprice Holdings restaurants J Sheeky and Le Caprice. He works closely with the forager and kitchen gardener to produce daily specials which have been found in the forest and solent.  The Pig was voted number 29 in the list of the UK’s 100 top establishments beating well known Michelins to the punch.

 

james golding - the pig hotel's chefchillis - The Pigwhite strawberry - the pigI was given a tour of the garden by James himself and was truly captivated by his passion and love for The Pig and what he does (he even has a tattoo of a pig, talk about dedication). 99 percent of the items listed on the menu has been grown in the gardens creating a 25 mile menu. The immediacy from garden to plate is The Pig’s trademark and the menu changes by the minute. Some of the home ingredients in the garden really caught my eye (and appetite). They seem to have trees and plants growing almost anything and everything including different  types of chillies, every herb under the sun, mushrooms and more.

 

After the tour we headed back to the hotel to lunch it out in the restaurant – an authentically reproduced Victorian greenhouse dining room complete with bare wood table tops and mismatched bone handled cutlery.

The oversized menu is not just for aesthetic purposes but also as there’s such a wide selection of dishes to choose from, all equally tempting. In fact I’m sure if you closed your eyes and picked three dishes at random you wouldn’t be disappointed.

 

piggy bits - the pig hotelWe were given a selection of ‘piggy bits’ to get us started. These included ‘Saddleback crackling’, ‘Brock eggs’ and a few other bits and bobs. The highlight was definitely the crackling served in long strips which were’n’t too hard (your dentist would probably approve).

 

the pig hotel restaurant - scallopsThere’s a section in the menu named ‘Literally picked this morning’ but I decided to have the ‘Hand dived Lyme Bay Scallops and crispy bacon’  from the ‘forest & solvent’ section instead. They were uber fresh, beautifully presented (notice the flowers) and served with monks beard (an ingredient you wouldn’t find on the supermarket shelves). Overall, it was a palate pleasing starter to say the least and definitely not overcooked (which a lot of restaurants are guilty of doing).
the pig hotel - pork chopI was craving pork that day (for obvious reasons) and it would’ve been rude not to gorge on a pig considering where we were. I decided to succumb to my cravings by ordering ‘The Pigs 24oz double ramsey pork chop’. I felt like I was on an episode of ‘Man Vs Food’ (or Elsa vs Pig) as the portion was nearly the size of a bloody ipad and almost two inches in depth. The rest of the diners were painfully watching but impressed at how fast I was munching away and how much I had consumed (I did extremely well but alas, the pork chop won… just about). The ratio of fat:meat was perfect and there was no need for the distraction of sauces due to its subtle marinade and natural juices.

 

the pig hotel - bath chapWhen P’s ‘Whole roasted bath chap’ was presented on the table, I felt myself getting a serious case of food envy. This was the whole side of a pigs head aka pigs cheek but not off the bone as you know it. This bad boy still teeth and the crackling looked formidable. It was served with nasturtium mash.
the pig hotel - silver mulletOne of the other guests had the silver mullet topped with monks beard and served with leek, mussels and lemon butter sauce. Judging by the smirk on his face (and the constant use of the word ‘delicious’), I think it was safe to assume he thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bellies full and morale boosted, we then got on a taxi to take a quick look at yet another sibling of the The Pig called ‘The Pig in the Wall’.. The Pig in the Wall opened earlier this month and it’s a stylish boutique B&B located within Southampton’s historic medieval walls by the waterfront. It comprises of 12 bedrooms, each with a touch of luxury combined with a homely charm. Although there is no kitchen, they have a deli counter serving PIG chacuterie boards, salads and wines. If you really want to indulge in dinner or lunch (which you must) fear not as they are offering guests a free transportation service to and from The Pig’s restaurant.

If you want a place to get away from the sometimes draining and polluted environments of London whether it’s for a romantic weekend or much needed R and R, The Pig hotels will sort you out.

The Pig – in the Forest                The Pig – in the Wall
Beaulieu Road                             8 Western Esplanade,
Brockenhurst                               Southampton,
Hampshire                                    Hampshire
SO42 7QL                                    SO14 2AZ

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