The Pig on the Beach - Homegrown splendour.
Going to The Pig on the Beach was a pleasant experience & I shall certainly be returning.
I have never stayed the night at any of their hotels, yet I have now eaten there twice & I’ve come to the conclusion I enjoy their food, service & atmosphere.
When I arrived with my partner, Gisele, on Thursday 13th June, the weather was, shall we say, bleak. However, as this date marks my loved one’s birthday, we set out to have a good time no matter what. Fortunately, The Pig on the Beach is located on the coast of Studland, Swanage, so all we had to do was to cross the ferry on the Sandbanks peninsula, drive down a relatively narrow, straight road for about 5-10 minutes, swing a left where it said ‘The Pig’, and behold, their home away from home.
The car park is not the biggest, but they did have an overflow, which, although was very much required, the gravel that leads you down the slope was uneven/not great, so watch out for your tyres if you drive & there are a couple of potholes on the path leading off the premises, so, again, watch out for your tyres. Apart from that, the grounds are really nice and as soon as you start to walk around, you can see why the prices are on the premium side, because it offers that quintessential English retreat with all the trimmings.
As we set foot inside, we were greeted almost instantly and walked to our table. The restaurant is located in the largest conservatory I’ve ever been in and had a relaxed, yet upmarket vibe. Although, as it was raining, every single diner was in the conservatory, so it became apparently hot quite quickly, with no sight of a single window open to let any air in & let’s just say the tables are ‘cosily’ placed beside one another, so if privacy is your thing, then perhaps this particular arrangement is not for you. Not that I’m trying to do The Pig on the Beach out of bookings, as they do have some private dining rooms available.
The waiter we had couldn’t have been nicer & was ready to take our order at almost every single occasion. Service is just as important as the food & it seems The Pig are aware of this also.
Gisele & I went for lunch, so we dove straight into our mains. I had the South Coast Pollock & Gisele was adamant she was having the Sirloin Steak with ‘thrice’ cooked chips. Both of our meals were a delight on the taste buds & before I knew it our plates were cleaned. The amount of time we had to wait for our food was almost non-existent & having their homemade bread with their garden herbs infused olive oil and home-smoked salt, made something that is usually so dull, genuinely delicious.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of desserts that were milk-free, so I had to opt for a dessert wine. Gisele had a Blancmange and she really enjoyed it, especially with the strawberries. It was a shame there wasn’t much vegan (I know, it’s called ‘The Pig’ for a reason), or, at the very least a dairy/milk-free selection. The demand for such things is rising, so I think The Pig are missing a trick here. That’s not to say a new/dedicated menu may not be on the way & that they didn’t offer to accommodate me wherever possible, because they did, yet they’re a bit late/overdue, but seeing as what I had to eat was delicious, I’ll let them off & when we decided to have a tea in their snug on a surprisingly comfortable chair, the waitress advised me that they had a vegan brownie..? Of course, I obliged & it had an unusual texture. It wasn’t just crammed full of sugar like most ‘vegan’ brownies are. For the first time I think I finally ate a plant based vegan brownie with melted dark chocolate and strawberries & it was really good. Some definite brownie points there (apologies for the pun) but I’m just confused as to why they didn’t offer it on the lunch menu?
At the very end of our meals, we went for a walk around the gardens. The view out to sea and looking back on Bournemouth’s bay was unusual for us, because we’re usually always facing where we were standing. On a warm sunny day, there’s no doubt in my mind that The Pig on the Beach’s garden would be a truly relaxing place to simply chill out with a refreshing beverage, perhaps a side order to keep the hunger at bay and to breathe in the fresh air, forgetting about everything else in your life but that very moment. After all, relaxation is key & being happy is of the utmost importance, no matter the cost.