In the week I returned to the Pig at Brockenhurst with the family of my godson Jamie. I was hoping to hook up with Fiona Duncan hotel reviewer of the Sunday Telegraph who lives nearby. Sadly she was reviewing in Wales so we could not compare notes The owners of my favourite restaurant in the UK Judy and Robin Huston served us complimentary champagne , it was not house champagne either. Why do I like the Pig so much? Go to another restaurant with an international gastronomic reputation and it will be full of bankers with credit cards as they are the only ones who can afford it. Go to a Celeb restaurant like Scotts or The Ivy and it will be full of ,er ,celebs or Charley Saatchi’s and his marriage on its last knockings. Non celebs are also rans. Go to a traditional restaurant like Wiltons or the Savoy Grill and its stuffy and dear . Go to an exclusive club restaurant and get a big loan unless you are the guest.
The Pig is informal and full of families, lovers, couples of all ages and in one corner Daffers and her godchild, Jamie. Jamie is beautifully behaved in restaurants, my main contribution to his upbringing is to ensure this. We give him the angry birds game on the iPad to play and that’s him happy. He is also the world’s slowest eater, stopping every minute to play angry birds, reporting on his performance to the assembly giving his mama Carol a cuddle . He does not play to the gallery despite his blue eyes and blonde hair making him a real wow with the ladies. Jamie was given the piglet menu and had sausages which he was still eating why we were having our sweets!!! The Pig also serves marvellous food well sourced and cooked. Jamie’ s mama and I always eat the same just in case one has the better option. We both thought the queen scallops were on the small side . I rather expected scallops to be plump and juicy not the tiddly morsels of fish in the shell. Our next course was the pork fillet with mash. The Pig majors on pork and you can see why as it was quite delicious. Jamie’s uncle Bob ordered a Sauvignon reserve. I have moved away from the oakey chardonnay to the fresher greener Sauvignon and this was tangy and fun. I insisted we had a sorbet suffused with vodka to cleanse the palettes before a rich blackberry mousse.
The Pig also has wonderful service treading that line between friendliness over familiarity , youth but not at the expense of professionalism. . Our waiter was a Gillingham fan who commented on the Fulham kit I bought Jamie as much to Ollie’s horror I want him to support Fulham rather than Chelsea and a friend of mine got him a kiddies strip with “Jamie 5” on the back. The Pig also is set in a fantastic setting. We took coffee in the lounge before a crackling fire in one of the comfy reception rooms. Finally there is the cost. The bill came to £240 for 4 1/2 people. You can pay that for 2 in London and eat worse. I have been compiling for Conde Nast “Daffers delectations” a list of restaurants that have impressed me. What have the Regency in Brighton, The Ram at Fylde, Tyddyn Llan in North Wales , the Pig, the White Oak at Cookham all atop of my list have in common? They are all outside London.