With their commitment to a 25 mile menu, The Pig on the Beach at Studland really does look to provide a locally sourced meal. Fortunately, the Isle of Purbeck has a wealth of great produce and that 25 mile radius extends into wider Dorset and across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Perhaps more important than precise lines on a map is a focus on quality ingredients and relatively simple preparation and presentation.
The Pig on the Beach was the second of an expanding group of Pig Hotels that are serving the South West and enjoys a magisterial position above Studland Bay with views across to Ballard Down and Old Harry’s Rocks. An old country house hotel with a cozy bar and log fires has been given a modern lift with the shabby chic greenhouse restaurant and on-trend team with jeans, pink shirts and converse trainers. The modern feel is also reflected in the bustling atmosphere inside and a warm welcome, particularly coming in from the unseasonal March snow.
Piggy and fishy bit snacks lead the menu and from previous visits we’ve enjoyed mini fish fingers, scotch eggs and crispy crackling. Having had an early St Patrick’s Day party the night before we decided to skip the snacks this time and move onto the main part of the menu that has an excellent selection for vegetarians, pescatarians and carnivores alike.
Sarah started with the coppa and roasted cauliflower. This looked great on the plate with the nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower and saltiness of the ham brought together with the rosemary dressing and a generous handful of seeds providing a little crunch. My chargrilled Jurassic Coast mackerel had a pleasing taste of the fire with a little rhubarb cutting through the luxurious oiliness of the fish.
For main course, Sarah’s whole Lyme Bay plaice was cooked well with pearly white delicate fish accompanied by pickled samphire that gave a touch of sweetness and a beurre noissette. My Middle White pork tomahawk chop with mustard cream sauce was a full on medieval experience and all the better for the rib bone not being French trimmed. The nod to healthy eating from the garden greens on the plate were despatched quickly to allow me to focus on the main event. Along the rib bone the belly had a decent ratio of fat to meat with all the flavour that provides while the chop itself was a juicy, flavoursome hunk.
Thrice cooked chips were crunchy on the outside and perfectly fluffy inside – and our waitress guessed right when asked if we needed one or two portions and suggested that she wouldn’t share! The accompanying mayonnaise had a vivid yellow and bounce that doesn’t come from a plastic bottle.
From an extensive wine list we had a crisp Chilean Sauvignon, fruity Pinot Noir from Burgundy and a rich Argentinian Malbec (glasses rather than bottles!). If you’re celebrating a special occasion the wine list runs to some excellent options while wines by the glass offer more day to day value.
Service from the front desk through the restaurant is friendly and extremely professional. The hotel has 23 rooms and offers spa treatments for a longer visit while the grounds allow for outdoor eating and drinking when Spring and Summer eventually arrive.
Starters are around £8 or £9 with main courses at £20+ plus sides with desserts at £7.50 so meals are more expensive than average for the area – for which you’re getting quality produce, cooked well with professional service in one of the best locations on the South Coast. For a special occasion or a well deserved treat the Pig on the Beach is well worth a visit and don’t forgot to say hello to the pigs in the garden!
Pig on the Beach
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||No|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||No|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||No|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|