A hotel nestled in the the Hampshire country side, surrounded by the beauty of the New Forest, The Pig Hotel and Restaurant is no secret. It is packed out by reputation. A large conservatory jutting off the side of the country house adorned with cascading plants, filled with pots of herbs is where we were seated, after a delicious cocktail in the gardens. The restaurant has country kitchen style, rustic yet elegant, a medium which is hard to achieve in most restaurants. The menu. The kitchen garden and forager dictates the menu, so there is no doubt your food is going to be freshly unearthed that day. The staff are lovely, very attentive. I enjoyed the fact that they were all wearing matching blue converse. Thats some “trendy” management they’ve got going on there.
On the back of the menu we found a map telling us exactly where our food was coming from. The all important pig comes from the Butcher Alan Bartlett of Bartlett and Sons who works closely with head chef James Golding. The meat is sourced from only local new forest farms. I admire The Pig for keeping it local and supporting all the producers in the surrounding areas.
To start, as we were eating at The Pig and we are self confessed pigs ourselves we had the meat platter, which I feel was the best way to sample the cured meats they have to offer.
Three types of cured, spiced, salty meats teamed with pickled turnips, chard and olives, accompanied by bread and spiced tomato chutney. It was a light and delicious way to start the meal. They presented it beautifully on a rustic style wooden board yet the food was elegantly laid out with the delicate edible petals adorning the meats. The chefs are clearly proud of their produce and want to give it the love it deserves.
For main we had, yes more pig. We had paperdelle with peppered salami, olives, rocket, parmesan and olive oil. No need for seasoning with the salty meat and olives with the peppery rocket. Simple, yet packed with flavour.
The menu is full of piggy puns and I’m so annoyed at myself for not remembering them. When looking at the desert menu I knew what I wanted in two shakes of a pigs tail (thats my own). There was a name that jumped out at me, ‘Piggy Fours’. A play on the after dinner bite sized french treats petit fours. We got three pieces each, very sweet, so they were more than enough.
Tiny jaffa cake inspired squares, ginger fudge and mini marshmallow lemon curd cones.
We rolled back to our hotel and after a few glasses of wine played a very unsuccessful game of badminton in hotel gardens in the dark, the only way to work off a three course meal at The Pig Hotel.