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Friday, 5 July 2013

Restaurant review: The Pig, Brockenhurst

Ever since I read a hugely positive review of the Pig in the Sunday Times, I've been wanting to visit. However, the journey from London to Brockenhurst (Hampshire) is slightly too far even for me on the hunt for a good lunch.

I've been staying with Caz in Hampshire for the past few days so I was really pleased when she suggested a visit.

We popped along to the Pig yesterday lunch time.

It was quite busy, but we easily found a table. The Pig is a gastropub/restaurant with rooms and prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients. Impressively, all sourced within a 25 miles radius (as shown on the back of the menu).

We were sat in a stunning conservatory type building attached to the main building.  There were fresh herbs everywhere, and I liked the mismatched furniture vibe, although Caz found it a bit contrived and not to her taste. I particularly enjoyed the soft drinks menu.

soft drinks menu
Caz ordered a 'piggy bite' to start - pork croquettes with a sweet onion dip. Delicious.

The bread was very good - a soft sourdough with fresh butter.

For my main, I ordered a creamy stilton polenta dish complete with a battered courgette flower and (for me) several unidentifiable additions.

When I asked our waitress what the mini green pepper thingy was, she said 'mangetout'. I knew straightaway that she was wrong and so she returned later, having asked the chef. It turns out that they are radish pods. They were so fresh and crunchy. The whole dish was beautifully executed, and tasty in that rich, salty kind of way. I could have done with less oil and butter though.

radish pods growing in the kitchen garden
Caz is always very adventurous when it comes to picking food. The day before she ate pigeon, and at the Pig, she chose the strongly flavoured dish of trout with horseradish. Considering it was the smaller portion of the two options available, I think that they were incredibly generous with the trout.

All of this trout and for only £7.

I was feeling very full after my polenta and bread so I decided to forgo dessert. This was actually a very poor decision. Caz's almond and raspberry sponge was so tasty and was accompanied by the best sorbet I've ever tried: lemon balm milk sorbet. It was the antithesis of regular lemon sorbet. So smooth and creamy, with none of the tartness of regular sorbet. I like both kinds, by the way, but the lemon balm was certainly a revelation.

For one starter, two small mains, one dessert, two soft drinks and a nettle tea, the bill came to £35 which I found to be pretty reasonable.

This became even better value when we inadvertently spent the next two hours wandering around the lovely grounds, which crucially for me, aren't too manicured.

There is a walled kitchen garden filled with traditional and more unusual types of vegetables. This backs on to a meadow filled with wild flowers and a lily pad pond complete with a potting shed which has been converted into a tiny spa.

globe artichoke

The crazy thing about the Pig, is that over the course of your visit, you actually become smaller the longer you stay - check out how mini I became!

Or perhaps that had something to do with the Pig having the world's biggest swing!

We had such a lovely meal, but really the best thing, was wandering around feeling like you've stepped back in time to a completely unspoilt England. When the sun's shining, there really isn't anywhere else I'd rather be.

Our visit was topped off on the way home with a view of these beautiful New Forest ponies.

It was very difficult getting on the train back to London later that afternoon, I can tell you!

What's your favourite thing to do when the weather's beautiful? Have you ever visited the New Forest?

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