Pigsty, Bristol

Okay so I had to come back briefly from our European tour to rave about Pigsty, I am perhaps a little late to this porky party on Wapping Wharf, it’s well established and along with Jolly Hog is moving from strength to strength. Being the excellent son that I am, I was taking mum out for lunch this time. Entering we were given a warm and friendly welcome, as well as the warmth of the cargo-unit too. Both much needed on the blustery-rainy-at-times-hail day that we visited. As with all cargo units, seating is at a premium and once we sat down I was almost surprised the restaurant didn’t start clearing itself like Tetris blocks it was so neatly filled, which is to say- to the brim.

Both of us opted for the Whole Hog, Slow roast pork belly, crackling, apple sauce (what else?) and slaw in a seeded bun. Not sure at the time I ordered if it would fill a man of my size up I added a side of Hoguettes as well, and I’ll start with them too. Slow roasted pork shoulder until in the mouth it was nothing but silk. The texture was at the other end of the spectrum to the deep golden-brown crumb shell which crunched under tooth. Combined with the pork I was transported to near ecstasy at the flavour of the meat developing. Once dunked in the baconnaise I was there. Scoffed before mum could get a look in, and unfortunately before I remembered why I’d brought my camera with me in the first place, and they were gone. Now they’re just a memory, but one that’s left a lasting impression.

The Whole Hog, which I did manage to get a photo of, elevated Pigsty to having a firm place in my heart. I find it hard to say no to pork belly as it is- even if it has become the cornerstone of every gastropub in existence. But as a spiral in this bun it was a new art-form created out of slow cooking. Tender and succulent one is reminded that fat equates to flavour and it was a positively moreish meal. Aside from the meat alone, the crackling was superb. An amber hue, puffed from lashings of salt, it cracked and provided a crunch so audible we didn’t even bother talking between bites both savouring the food. I am happy to hold up my hand and say this is the best crackling I’ve ever consumed. And I am a big fan of a hog roast to understate my love of pork in all its glorious forms.

Belly pork and coleslaw in a seeded bun on a table.

Glory in a bun. The towering beauty which is the Whole Hog. Just look at that crackling!

And all of this is before I get to trying to put the entire incredible bun into words. The bun piled high with sweet apple sauce emphasising if not empowering the savoury and umami flavours from the pork. The rainbow of slaw compounded the textures present elsewhere and added some bitterness to each bite to balance out the richness of the other flavours. Facing an empty plate, I was filled with a desire to order another one, but unfortunately my brain won over my stomach. What was delivered to me was a porky beauty, with a fresh take on belly pork above a humble sandwich. It elevated pork belly once again onto the pedestal it firmly deserves. Not bad for under a tenner.

We left happy and full, not far off pigs in muck.

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