In the heart of the New Forest, Brockenhurst, The Pig is part of the wider Pig group which includes The Pig on the beach in Dorset, The Pig at Combe in Devon, The Pig in the wall in Southampton and The Pig in Bath. It is also part of the wider five star Limewood Hotel a stone’s throw away from the pig in Brockenhurst. For my birthday this year, I was lucky enough to spend a gluttonous night in this luxurious establishment.
Set up like a typical English country manor house, you walk into a wide oak wooden floored entrance with an array of coloured hunter welly boots and well-spoken bubbly staff dressed in light tweed.
The hotel itself is as impressive as the rambling grounds, particularly how the feeling of outside is bought inside through a large conservatory which houses the breakfast room and restaurant.
The centrepiece of The Pig is the food, a conscious decision made when they set out to create what they call a “restaurant with rooms”. Given the name of the hotel, the menu is fairly pig centric from the crispy crackling with brambly apple sauce and black pudding scotch eggs to start, through to the pig shaped gingerbread biscuits served with coffee – they just LOVE pigs! The Pig hotels champion local food, placing the head gardener and forager at the top of the restaurants triangle. What is picked and sourced locally is provided to their head chef to design the menu. The ‘25 mile menu’ showcases only the highest quality ingredients from Hampshire and the South Coast. The food itself is British Italian, with the executive chef of the group, Angela Hartnett’s Italian influence clearly shining through on the menu.
The forager and head gardener welcomes those staying at the hotel to venture out into the New Forest with them to pick mushrooms, wild berries and flowers which will make it onto the evening menu. The vegetable garden itself is absolutely beautiful, providing 95% of the fruit and veg eaten at The Pig.
The ground floor of the hotel is made up of several reception rooms, many with more than one fireplace and lots of vintage, comfortable sofas. The stunning carved wood bar is quite a sight, as are the 30 or so house infused bottles of Chase gin and the equally impressive back bar. The cocktail and wine list more then spoils you for choice and even if the restaurant were bad, would still provide a reason to spend there. We settled in here for some strong pre dinner drinks which slipped down a treat!
Olies Lamb Belly starter was one of the most original dishes he’d ever had. He’d never had it nor seen it before, which, coming from someone who eats 80 – 90% of the time is impressive. My Smoked mackerel was so fishy, chilled and fresh. There’s something about eating in the countryside which feels uber healthy.
Our main were a gastronomic experience, you could taste the passion in the cooking and the veg tastes all the better for having been grown on the grounds. Olie went for a rarely used beef blade, and me the hake and clams in a crab bisque – warning this is not for the faint hearted fish eater! Extremely punchy, fresh salty flavours. Post dinner we retired to a fireplace with a heavy red until passing out.
Rooms at The Pig reciprocate a Farrow and Ball showroom, smelling of expensive pine and rose petal linen. Our ‘generous room’ contained a classily stocked mini bar built into a thick pinewood unit. You are treated to Banford products throughout your stay, and a botanical gin mixing kit alongside homemade fudge on your bed upon arrival. The outdoor patio garden with open fire and wood fire pizza oven are a very nice way to spend an evening, and an equally nice place to retire to after dinner. For those that way inclined there is an impressive cigar menu and no shortage of places in the garden to enjoy them. Breakfast is a budding instagrammers wet dream; five artisan fruit, nut & grain granola recipes, organic creams and homemade yoghurts, bread packed with a billion grains, bacon straight out of the field with eggs freshly laid that morning.
During the day, the hotel is converted several wood cabins into spa treatment rooms or for a full spa experience a Land Rover will pick you up and take you to the Limewood Hotel and Spa.
A weekend at The Pig feels somewhat like a stay with an extended family. It evokes a feeling of going home to the country to unwind (except the food is better and you don’t have to do the washing up) rather than a service you are paying for. When presented with the bill on departure, it’s one of the few hotels where you actually want to pay it.
LW tip: check the offer section of the website for last minute deals on rooms as any unoccupied room is a fraction of the price if booked in the weeks before.
Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7QL
Rooms start from £154 per night