The Pig in the wall in Southampton offers a marvellous preview of what guests can expect from the pig of all pigs, the daddy pig that is the renowned ‘Pig Hotel’ in Brockenhurst.
With a seemingly long waiting list to dine and stay there, The Pig in the wall however is a smaller, more intimate version (just 12 bedrooms) with the same friendly and relaxed vibe set within a distinguished Georgian house, elegantly fitted neatly between two old arches in the city’s medieval walls. With an unrefined yet perfectly styled shabby chic interior this desired bolt hole provides affordable accommodation ideal for a city break, a mouthwatering deli where visitors can enjoy a scrummy light lunch and a cosy setting to meet up with your group of besties for a casual drink (or two!).
Shortly after checking in we were introduced to our ‘spacious’ room on the 1st floor. It came complete with an inviting stand alone roll top bath situated right next to our super comfy bed, a ‘larder’ stocked with tasty snacks, thirst quenching drinks and a Nespresso coffee machine. I liked the fact it also came with a large separate walk-in monsoon shower with a selection of luxurious Noble Isle toiletries – we loved the Willow Song shower gel so much we ordered a full-sized bottle for home.
The Pig in the wall is in a great location, perfect for exploring some history or indulging in a spot of shopping in Southampton. For budding historians, it’s a fantastic opportunity to soak up the huge amount of history that surrounds you including the significant 15th century Wool House where you can discover the city’s long and illustrious history as a gateway to the world. Or why not find out about the international cruise and cargo port, as well as its pivotal role in the Titanic story? And for those that fancy a walk, guests can follow the signposts along the third longest uninterrupted stretch of medieval defensive walling in Great Britain.
In search of something more lively, Ocean Village is far more than just a marina – surrounded by restaurants, cinemas and bars it offers outstanding recreational facilities as well some enjoyable nightlife if that’s what you are looking for during your stay.
And half way between the hotel and Ocean Village you should make it your business to stumble across Oxford Street, apparently it’s the site of Southampton’s cosmopolitan rendezvous. If you like nothing more than to eat, drink and be pampered then Oxford Street is the perfect location to visit independent restaurants, bars and boutiques. Although if the high street is more your bag, come out of the hotel, look ‘right’ and you’ll see the prominent West Quays shopping centre in the distance. You’ll find your favourite fashion brands inside including French Connection, Zara and Dune as well as major department stores such as John Lewis.
All the sightseeing left us feeling rather famished. We clambered into The Pig’s very own Land Rover with two other couples – destination: The Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst. Our free transfer took around 30 minutes after negotiating some bumps in the road, but it was very pleasant as we took in some idyllic sites of The New Forest and observed the cows and horses that freely roam the land. The drive into the grounds of this restaurant, come hotel is really quite magical – and at dusk, it’s breathtaking!
We were welcomed with heart-warming smiles and friendly faces. The atmosphere was relaxed and at half past six there were mainly young families having an early supper before the kids got overtired (I know the feeling…).
The restaurant itself is housed in a large conservatory and there were plants and foliage everywhere – everything seemed refreshingly natural, organic and raw. There is no doubt, the setting is enchanting, it has a family feel and you can’t help but buy into this ‘real’ homegrown lifestyle.
The menu was filled with mouthwatering and fresh, healthy dishes – everything seemed incredibly tempting and to be honest it was hard to chose one dish for each course. Apparently the menu can literally change by the minute depending on what the forager finds or the kitchen gardener deems to be in perfect condition and it occurred to me that this is the only way to run a genuinely fresh kitchen.
To start with we were tempted with a couple of ‘Piggy Bits’ to accompany our champagne flutes – the pork crackling with homemade applesauce was to die for and the homemade salami and chorizo slices were delish too!
For our actual starters we can wholeheartedly recommend the scallops; they were served in their shells and garnished with seaweed. The portions were generous and even at this stage I was getting rather full. My main of a dressed crab with thrice cooked chips was just what the doctor ordered, as it was packed full of flavour and every inch was absolutely divine. However, if you are a carnivore by nature (like my husband), he would without hesitation recommend the neck of lamb with a side of courgettes (served raw), not something he would ordinarily choose but loved them!
With a small breather after our mains we managed to share the chocolate ice cream roll served with blackberries. This was quite enough and by this point we were extremely satisfied and full to the brim!
When we woke up in the morning after a deep and wonderful unbroken night of sleep, we were still absolutely stuffed. We ventured downstairs and got stuck in to home baked granola, mini pastries, cold meats, cheeses and boiled eggs at breakfast – what a lovely way to round off a memorable overnight stay at The Pig in the wall.
The Pig in the wall, Western Esplanade, Southampton, Hampshire. To book, call 023 8063 6900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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