Tag Archives: Roots

‘25 mile menu of magic’ – The Pig part one

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Lean, clean but absolute indulgence..

A Birthday treat this month, meaning a treat for readers too, with a three part blog on my recent stay at the New Forest gem, ‘The Pig’.  The success of the original Pig in the forest has paved the way for an expanding brand across the South of England, with Southampton, Bath, Devon and Studland following.  The concept of a restaurant with rooms is fantastic, but all the more appropriate when The Pig has the luxury of bringing garden to plate from the superbly stocked walled gardens full of fresh produce, allowing the menu to write itself almost hourly.

The gateway to the New Forest, Brockenhurst railway station is less than a mile down the road, placing the Pig conveniently regardless of your transport.  There is plenty of parking on site among the stunning grounds.  More on the grounds later this month!  The 30 bedroom country house is warm, welcoming and served excellently by staff circulating regularly.  There is a shabby-chic feel to the lounges but it suits the place very well.  The restaurant itself feels like a step into the greenhouse which adds to the charm of a garden to plate experience.

It seems appropriate to start with breakfast for part one.  A cracking selection of a ‘full pig-out’.  Pork sausage packing that perfect meaty punch, crispy streaky bacon with a sweet and smoky edge, leaner than lean back bacon, two free range eggs with sunset yellow yolks, black and white pudding to die for, field mushroom and the sweetest slow roasted tomato you can imagine.

I cannot describe how lean and clean these fresh ingredients are despite their obvious indulgence.

The continental offerings for breakfast are more than generous, with various fruits, cereals, muesli, cured meats, local cheeses and freshly baked sourdough.  Washed down with your choice of fruit juices and your favourite cup of coffee or tea, there is no better way to start your day ready for exploring the New Forest.  And seeing as The Pig have a ready made 7 mile walking route waiting at reception for you, there is every reason to treat yourself to your choice from a stunning breakfast menu.

Next week’s part two takes us out into the gardens, with an additional focus on some ‘piggy nibbles.’  Not to be missed.

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‘A chef’s playground’ – Restaurant Roots

Roots

Restaurant Roots takes you on a tasting tour designed with discovery in mind

Welcome back everyone!  In re-launching the blog, I wanted to share a review of a recent visit to ‘Restaurant Roots’ in Southbourne, Bournemouth.  Looking ahead, I am pleased to announce that new posts will be published every Tuesday.  So join the mailing list or keep an eye on social media for your new weekly fix of wise words on food.

Restaurant Roots is a relatively new addition to the Bournemouth eating out scene.  It’s a husband and wife team who specialise in tasting menu experiences.  Although the concept of a tasting menu is not new in itself, Restaurant Roots’ evening service offers up a unique and exciting series of tasting menu options in the form of 5, 7 and ultimate ‘discovery’ course experiences.  Bank Holiday brunches, Sunday lunches and 2 and 3 course lunch menus complete the picture.  We enjoyed the discovery menu and wine pairings recently and were extremely impressed.  The restaurant also has a very generous vegetarian offering, including individually designed tasting menus.

Set in residential Southbourne, Restaurant Roots has an intimate but light dining room, with relaxed contemporary decor.  With stunning presentation of each course on their menu, you could argue that the solid wood tables do not do justice to the colours on display, where as a simple, crisp white tablecloth would.  I can see the appeal of a more rustic table setting for lunches, particularly on a Sunday.  Food for thought, perhaps?

The discovery menu comes in at £57.50 per head in addition to £19.50 for wine pairings.  Comparatively this is excellent value for what is in practice a generous 10 course tasting menu.  The wine pairings were expertly chosen by the very friendly and hard working chap who had the unenviable task of looking after the entire front of house by himself.

Kicking off the discovery menu is ‘Prosecco and Snacks.’  A cold, crisp glass of prosecco accompanied by a variety of canapés.  Among these canapés were vegetable crisps, dip and most impressively a boundary pushing take on a caesar salad inside a small glass bowl.  The flavours of bacon, anchovy, fresh salad and a creamy dressing all coming through with smooth, icy and crunchy textures.

My particular highlights from the remaining courses included a celeriac dish, with winter truffle, grape and hazelnut; a refreshing palate cleanser course of champagne sorbet with blackcurrant foam; and the pictured Seville orange with bitter chocolate sorbet.  As I dislike Terry’s chocolate orange with quite a passion, this particular dish must have been truly outstanding to capture my imagination.  The fresh, zesty sharpish of the orange in no way resembled that awful chemical orange flavour you get with ‘chocolate orange’ but instead matched to perfection the two very distinct and wonderful flavours of fresh, vibrant orange and bitter chocolate.  A success!

An optional cheese course is offered which gets a huge thumbs up from me, particularly with some local cheeses and also some more obscure.  It’s not every day you get to sample cheese made by Alex James, the bassist from Blur.  Finishing with coffee and petit fours, we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

As I now write, Restaurant Roots is booking up months in advance, with incredible seasonal produce, the perfect tools for a chef’s dream playground.  If you are planning a visit to the South Coast and want a fine dining experience, Restaurant Roots simply has to be on your list to visit; I struggle to name a better fine dining style restaurant on current form in Dorset, and by some considerable distance.

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