A couple of years ago I read a write up in a magazine about The Pig Hotel in the New Forest. It sounded like my idea of a dream, and so I saved the magazine cutting and when we had enough money, we booked in.
It was amazing and we called it our ‘heaven on earth’. Then, as luck would have it, Pensford near Bath was earmarked as the place for the next Pig hotel. And we had a ruddy good excuse to visit, what with me celebrating my thirtieth over Christmas and my Dad turning sixty in January.
The Pig describes itself as a restaurant with rooms, so that’s exactly what I’m going to focus on for this blog post – the absolutely superb food!
The Pig has a 25 mile menu; what isn’t grown in their kitchen garden is sourced locally, making for an ever-changing and delicious menu.
So what did we pig out on? Well, to start with, we couldn’t resist the piggy bits whilst we enjoyed a drink in the bar, so we ordered crackling & apple sauce to keep us going till dinner time. And then for the main event, we all chose different starters: Chargrilled sprouting broccoli and homemade mascarpone for me, Dad had the pig cheek and garden leek risotto, it was James Golding’s home smoked Wester Ross salmon for Mum and Kingsley had two of the piggy plates including chipolatas & spiced ketchup and Honey & chilli pork belly. All our plates were scraped clean, and I also really enjoyed digging into the freshly cooked bread dipped into rosemary infused olive oil with a few sprinkles of The Pig’s smoked salt (they have their own smoke house on site).
And then the showstopper arrived. Kingsley and I chose the slow-roasted Withywood Farm lamb for two. I’m not a big fan of sharing, so I was scared of not getting enough, but I had no need – I have now consumed my lamb quota for the whole year! It would have been a generous portion for a family of four! Wow. It was good. The meat just fell off the bone and was served with cauliflower cheese and red sprouts and kale from the garden. Even better, Kingsley doesn’t like sprouts, so I got to eat his share too – and they were the best sprouts ever! Mum’s looked pretty special too, and was a contender for me when choosing, she had the slow cooked large black pork belly with apple colcannon & wholegrain mustard sauce. Dad being a big meat fan too, went for the chargrilled 35 day aged sirloin of beef served with salad and thrice cooked chips.
We were then treated to some dessert wines for our birthdays and chose two puddings to tuck into: Spotted pig – which was a suet sponge pudding served with the most delicious custard, and apple crumble serve with ice cream, which requires no explanation. Dad got half way through the crumble and said he couldn’t eat another thing, but by sheer determination, the next time we looked over at his plate, it was all gone! I guess he just couldn’t bear to leave any of his favourite pudding behind.
Belly’s full, we retired to the lounge to relax in the comfy chairs, not sure how we could possibly fit breakfast in in the next morning.
Don’t worry too much though, because in the morning, after one look at all the yummy breakfast things on offer, we found room.