The New Forest
Tel: 01590 622354
If you fancy working off a bit of that Christmas food then I have some paradoxical advice for you. Get yourself out to the countryside and visit The Pig in Brockenhurst, Hampshire. It has rooms and garden kitchen food. But it has much more than that.
It’s a large country house sitting in a beautiful location of rolling hills and the New Forest on its doorstep. It is incredibly relaxing with creature comforts aplenty. This is the first of paradoxical pieces of advice: you can go for endless country walks (they even have wellies for you to borrow) that will work wonders for all those mince pies you thought wouldn’t make any difference over the festive season.
The main house is Georgian and has a lavish bo ho chic vibe running through it. Giant rooms with deep sofas and the smell of real wood fires offering comfort from the elements (that you’ve just spent hours walking through, remember)! There is also a restaurant (paradox alert) with a menu that’s mostly sourced with a 25-mile radius.
The kitchen garden provides much of the greenery on your plate as well as herbs and fruits. The smoke house is run by head chef James Golding who has his own cunning recipe involving local Brockenhurst honey, white pepper, lemon, sea salt and oak to flavour Scottish salmon. There are fruit cages and polytunnels to keep things working throughout the year.
Not content with all the fruit and vegetables they grow there is a strong foraging element to the menu as well. Garry Eveleigh the local forager can take guests on a bit of ramble if they like and get to know the difference between a mushroom and toadstool. There are also pigs (as you’d expect), chicken and quail as part of the good life on offer.
The accommodation is quite special as well. They have rooms in the main house but what caught my eye was a couple of lodges in the grounds. Made of wood and completely private but with all life’s essentials they are delightful. Perfect for families and couples alike some even have their own kitchens (which The Pig will stock for you before you arrive) and separate living rooms. Picture a roaring fire, the smell of supper on the hob, kids all tucked up asleep and a glass of wine in your hand. Tempting isn’t it?
If you don’t feel the need to bring out your inner hunter-gatherer then just head up to the fabulous restaurant. I ate there and had that superb smoked salmon, some delightful treats (called piggy bits) that included sausage rolls with a spiced tomato sauce, Scotch quails eggs and saddleback crackling with apple-sauce.
I chose a Fir Tree rack of lamb and roasted squash, chillies and salsa verde jus and just for good measure some tobacco onions. I realise that I shouldn’t really say this but the puddings are also very, very good indeed (sorry)!
The food and accommodation on offer at The Pig will please the most discerning of visitors. The food is hearty, sophisticated and above all tasty (with low food miles to boot) and the rooms are relaxing, unstuffy and tastefully furnished (they have an old school Robert’s radio next to each bed). I could easily live there but that would be just too paradoxical.