Food is what The Pig is all about. Essentially it’s billed as a restaurant with rooms
However, it seems like an insult to refer to this luxurious 26 bedroomed Victorian country house as merely “a restaurant with rooms”.
As you walk around the majestic property you can smell culinary delights wafting through the air. There’s even a wood-fired oven outside cooking pizzas and flatbreads, adding a scrumptious scent to the garden areas.
The kitchen is run by head chef James Golding, instead of having sous chefs next to him he has a forager and a gardener. Together this dynamic trio (armed with an impressive list of world-class eateries on their CVs) create a mouth-watering menu which changes day by day, depending on what the forager finds or the gardener picks. Most vegetables and fruits used are grown in their on-site walled garden, everything else is sourced locally within a 25 mile radius. Hence their heavily advertised 25-Mile Menu.
Following my spa treatment I jumped into the monsoon shower which was full of luxurious Bramley products. The Mandarin and Lemongrass Oil Body Wash rocked my world. Not to mention the Juniper Berry and Bergamot Body Lotion.
We then made our way across the courtyard to dinner, smelling fresher than a perfumery model on a fashion shoot. We started the evening in the bar, which boasts an exciting and impressive drinks menu. Wild boar heads hang on all walls surrounding us, next to fellow diners sipping a fascinating mix of cocktails.
We were given some pre-dinner nibbles chosen from the Piggy Bits section of the evening menu. These included Brock Eggs (scotch eggs to us normal folk, although made with fresh eggs from their resident quails), Garden Savoury Sausage Rolls (using meat from their on-site pigs), Smoked Chilli & Honey Crispy Pork Belly and Crispy Lardo & Cider Dressing (I couldn’t face the later, knowing it was simply the thick layer of fat from the pigs back cured and then battered).
The restaurant was bustling when we sat down at 8.30pm. The dinning room, set in a Victorian greenhouse, has a very chilled, mellow atmosphere. Small fruit trees are growing on every window ledge, the tables are decorated with terracotta pots housing flowers, herbs and spices, there’s foliage in every corner and green scrubs scattered around. The candle-lit room added to the laid back vibe, which although cosy and inviting, still feels decadent and romantic.
The table staff (all decked out in Converse trainers) are enthusiastic and proud of their 25-mile radius, knowing the ingredients inside out and armed with opinions on menu recommendations.
I ordered the Crab with Garden Apple, Brown Crab Ricotta & Smoked Chilli Oil to start. It was by far one of the tastiest starters I can ever remember eating. Tangy, fresh and pleasingly light.
My husband Jimmy chose Rolled Pork Belly & Coppa, Roasted Chicory, Garden Pear & Dripping Dressing. He said it was magnificent. I then opted for the Pollock & Curried Mussels with Garden Kale, Spiced Potatoes & Pickled Samphire. It was so delicious I could have easily ordered and ate it again. The curried mussels were immense.
I then opted for the Pollock & Curried Mussels with Garden Kale, Spiced Potatoes & Pickled Samphire. It was so delicious I could have easily ordered and ate it again. The curried mussels were immense.
Jim picked Slow Roast Hogget & Potato Fritters with Curly Kale, Roast Root Vegetables & Red Wine Jus. We ummed and ahhed for ages over the desert menu as everything sounded amazing. Eventually we decided to share Forced Rhubarb Arctic Roll with Poached Rhubarb & Custard (a modern twist on the old 80s favourite) and Warm Chocolate Mouse & Boozy Prune Tart with Cream Cheese Ice Cream. Both, as you can imagine, were a taste sensation.
We were very tempted to finish off with a Shot of Foragers Sorbet which on today’s menu was Rowan Berry but alas we couldn’t find a single spot in our vastly protruding bellies to allow it.
Instead we decided to recline (more probably waddle, full-bellied) to the Drawing Room and nestled in for the night by one of the open log fires. The room was so relaxing and toasty with exposed brickwork surrounding the fire places, candelabras attached to mirrors, family paintings of yesteryear and the aromatic smell of brandy and red wine infused with burning wood. I ordered a pot of freshly picked garden mint tea and Jim had a Jack Daniels and coke.
After much lazing around we headed back to our Pig Sty cottage and threw a couple of big logs into our fire burner. I took off my lace pinafore dress (it was a little tight now after all the scrumptious food and drink) and happily put on the hotel slippers and dressing gown, we popped open the complimentary bottle of champagne and lay back on the sofa thinking ‘I wish we could do this every weekend”.
And I really do. I would happily spent my weekend that way again and again, week after week. Even with the below creepy characters lurking around.
A Snug Room is £135 mid week (Mon – Thurs) and £165 at weekends. For more info call 01590 622 354 or visit www.thepighotel.com