The Pig & Butcher – Take 2! (London)

I really love this place.

You may remember my last post about it (see post here) when we last visited to celebrate N‘s birthday, so since we happened to be in the Islington area on Sunday after watching The Other Woman, N, H and I decided to pay a second visit.

It had been a beautiful summery day, so even though it was almost 730PM when we arrived, it was still really bright and airy inside, a big change from our last visit, which had been on a blustery winter’s night. As it had been a spur-of-the-moment type decision to dine here, we weren’t able to reserve a table, but thankfully they do keep a number of tables for walk-ins, so we still got a table no problem.

None of us were really hungry, as we had been eating steadily for the entire day. We had started with a pit-stop at the Anti-Shop in Brick Lane, followed by a visit to the Brick Lane food market with L and J, where we overdosed on arepas.

 

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YUMMY.

We spent our afternoon outside at a random cafe in Chapel Market, and had popcorn and nachos during the movie… It was a good, good day.

So understandably, we didn’t have any starters this time, though, if you read my previous post, I HIGHLY recommend you get the bread with dripping if you 1) aren’t a vegetarian 2) aren’t concerned about fat 3) are really cool – all 3 being cumulative criteria, of course.

H‘s choice was the chargrilled heritage tomato pappardelle with basil pesto. This dish actually comes with black olives as well but as H doesn’t care for them, she asked for them to be taken out.

 

Heirloom tomato pappardelle with basil pesto (£13.50)

Heirloom tomato pappardelle with basil pesto (£13.50)

 

Oh, look how gorgeous!!! All the colors! I love the bright, sunny hues of the heirloom tomatoes, and the pop of green from the pesto…  Our waiter said that the pasta is made fresh on-site, and it came perfectly cooked. And if you’re going to put in all that effort into making your own pasta, you want a simple sauce so as not to mask the flavor of the pasta itself. This sauce was very fresh and seasonal, the tomatoes just lightly soused in the oil and not overcooked into pre-chewed mush. And a coarsely-ground pesto can only be a good thing. So, vegetarians, please rest assured, you can visit a place called ‘The Pig & Butcher’ and still feel well taken care of.

went with the fish.

 

Grilled Megrim sole with new potatoes and green sauce (£15.50)

Grilled Megrim sole with new potatoes and green sauce (£15.50)

 

Only get this if you are comfortable with eating fish with bones. Alternatively, if you are with me, I don’t mind being your Chinese slave and helping you get it off the bones hahaha. Provided I get some perks, of course. The green sauce had some wholegrain mustard in it, so if you aren’t a fan of mustard, do ask for some other sauce – I’m sure they can arrange something for you. Like pesto. Mm.

I wanted to try the Sunday roast menu, so I chose the lamb (duh), which, being 1 of the 4 Sunday roast offerings, comes with a Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, creamed leeks and vegetables.

 

New season roasted leg of Mill Farm lamb (£16.95)

New season roasted leg of Mill Farm lamb (£16.95)

 

Now, I know some of you have reservations about going out for Sunday roasts but see, at home our Sundays consist typically of dimsum and nasi lemak – not all of us have a grandmother or mother to do a big Sunday roast dinner every week! (But having said that, I would still rather have dimsum every Sunday hehehe.)

 

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The lamb was rosy pink, buttery-soft, and not too fatty, while the roasties were golden and pleasantly crunchy, with hot and fluffy innards. The vegetables were exceedingly normal, and so was the Yorkshire pudding, actually. (For a yummy Yorkshire pudd, I recommend you try out Tramshed – see post here – which does a rather fabulous version of it with whipped chicken livers.) Do make sure you ask for extra gravy! In fact I think next time I’ll ask for the gravy to be served on the side so that I can control how long my roast potatoes will steep in it for. I recommend you do the same so your potatoes don’t become soggy sludge while you are busy talking up a storm, which is something I am frequently prone to do, as anyone who eats with me would realise.

Overall, good, but as Sunday roasts are not really my sort of thing (what sacrilege!), I don’t think I would order it again.

Now, let’s talk about the desserts. We had a really good experience with the desserts the last time we visited, and even now I continue to have fond memories of the delicious, delicious pear tarte tartin I had on my last visit. And today, oh glorious day, there was sticky toffee pudding!!!!!!! AHHHH. My sweetest downfall. Seriously.

This is kind of embarrassing but I swear, when I see an STP descending upon my table, it’s like everything slows down and retreats into the background, I can’t focus on anything else, and in my head I’m singing Regina Spektor’s Samson.

 

“You are my sweetest downfall – I loved you first, I loved you first…”

 

Sticky toffee pudding & Dorset clotted cream (£6.50)

Sticky toffee pudding & Dorset clotted cream (£6.50)

 

HAHAHA. I mean, how can you not? I have to say this version was really quite delicious. I don’t know if it compares to that place on Portobello Road that I still have yet to return to so really, I should probably stop touting its STP out to everyone I know as the best STP there is… But this was good. I may or may not have horrified our waiter by telling him about how I sometimes make a whole tray of it, scoop vanilla ice-cream directly into the dish, and eat it all on my lonesome. Sometimes, I said. Don’t judge.

Our next dessert was recommended by the waiter and my God it was delicious. For something to be able to stand out next to STP for me, it really has to be something quite special.

 

Gariguette strawberries, baked custard & lavender shortbread (£6.50)

Gariguette strawberries, baked custard & lavender shortbread (£6.50)

 

The shortbread was buttery and sandy, and perfumed with dried lavender. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste at all flowery or potpourri-like. In fact, the lavender gives the shortbread a distinct, almost savory element.

 

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Paired with the cold, tangy strawberry sorbet, that was neither too sour nor too icy, and cool, creamy baked custard, speckled with black vanilla bean flecks, it really was such a simple and fresh-tasting combination, which just goes to show that cooking with seasonal produce will never really fail you.

 

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You will note that I’m studiously ignoring the bed of strawberries sprinkled with mint, though I’m sure they were delicious hahaha. But you know how much I hate fruit in its pure form. So yes, on that note, for me to say that a fruit-based – scratch that, a strawberry-based dessert – is good, trust me, it’s really something of a big deal. I did have some of the mint with the rest of the dessert though, and it really lent a sprightliness to the dish.

If they are still serving this, I am definitely returning in a couple of weeks with my strawbie-loving Little Miss N when she comes to visit!!!! CANNOT WAAAAAAAAAIT.

Anyway, THANK YOU GUYS for reading once again! I have lots of flabulous fatventures in store over the next week so do stay tuned!

 

THE PIG AND BUTCHER

80 Liverpool Rd, 
Islington
London
N1 0QD

Monday to Wednesday: 5pm–11pm
Thursday: 5pm–12am
Friday & Saturday: 12pm–1am
Sunday: 12pm–11pm

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