Having heard so much about it, visiting The Pig has been on my pregnancy bucket list for AGES. But it's quite pricey and so I decided we needed an excuse to justify a visit. So thank you, Oli, for being born in June. And thank you, weather gods, for deciding to make Oli's birthday the warmest day of the summer so far.
I booked our room way back in February but even then, weekends were fully booked. This is a popular place, and you have to get in early. Without the option of a weekend away, we decided to go down on Oli's birthday (Thursday) instead and just stay one night. There was also only one type of room available when I booked: a 'Snug' room, the cheapest, which was actually fine by us as it was still £149, breakfast not included.
Billed as a 'restaurant with rooms', The Pig is SUCH a clever idea for fans of decent food and mini-breaks. Set in the most idyllic New Forest setting, this converted manor house is home to pigs (obviously), chickens, quails, bees and the most amazing kitchen garden. All the food cooked in the restaurant is sourced from within a 25-mile radius (much of it grown on site), meaning seasonal produce is the order of the day. It's a popular restaurant for those living locally, so booking a table even if you're staying the night is essential.
As with all holidays/restaurants, I like to do my research, so when I had a look on Tripadvisor last week before we left, I was quite upset to see a few negative reviews, saying the service was rubbish and the food was nothing special. We turned up on Thursday fearing the worst, but I'm SO pleased to say these fears were unfounded. Quite simply, it was paradise.
The Snug room was, indeed, snug, but it didn't matter; we were only there one night after all. The bed was big and comfy, the shower was powerful and the views from the room were stunning. But we didn't stay in the room for long, preferring to make the most of the glorious weather and explore the grounds... there's even a giant swing - perfect for sharing...
We'd booked a table for dinner at 7.30pm, but couldn't resist also enjoying a drink and some snacks on the terrace in the late afternoon. I broke all my pregnancy rules and had a Pimm's, but I paid the price when it made me fall asleep just before dinner, and I woke up feeling super groggy and a bit sick. Sorry Baby. It was, however, worth ordering just for the fact it CAME IN A BOOT!
Dinner is held in the most glorious conservatory - I clocked immediately that it was by Marston & Langinger. I loved everything about the decor here - it was just wonderful.
The menu changes daily, and we had an interesting mix of dishes for supper, from smoked salmon and chipolatas to tomato salad and cod with sea beets. There's (unsurprisingly) a LOT of pig on the menu, so if you're a vegetarian you might feel a little frustrated. They also had an amazing non-alcoholic cocktail menu, and my 'Piggletini' felt suitably special for the occasion.
I have to say, the best bit about the whole meal was the bread, served with home-infused olive oil and salt. I didn't get a photo, because basically we scoffed it too quickly.
Breakfast is served in the same room, and is a wonderful buffet affair, with home-made granola and super fresh fruits among the highlights. I also ordered a Full English, as, ahem, you know, I'm eating for two. The eggs (fresh from the chickens outside) were superb, and don't get me started on the sausage... Love a good sausage.
The Pig is my idea of paradise. The interiors are perfect, the atmosphere and service relaxed but with all the little luxury touches you'd expect from the price, the food is interesting and inventive and the setting is second to none. I hear they are also child-friendly, so once Baby Chip makes an appearance, I'm sure we'll be back.
Find out more about The Pig >>