I have been to The Pig at Combe a couple of times now but mainly for event dinners; I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of private dining in The Georgian Kitchen as well as an interesting and tasty Chef Meets Sommelier Game Supper.
Preferred to be known as a restaurant with rooms, this venue is certainly a place for gathering over food with the benefit of being able to book an overnight stay should you wish to really pig out.
An ideal venue for all occasions, whether it be lunch for two, or the whole hog (family). Hell, I’d even go as far as to say if you can’t find a dining partner or you need some me-time, take a book or just yourself and let the staff and environment feed and nurture you.
The beautiful garden is perfect for a drink and some piggy nibbles, the bar and it’s roaring fire perfect to hunker down in, The Folly can warm you with it’s modest, earthy decor and wood fired pizzas and of course the main dining area is country chic without being too fancy you feel out of place.
This visit was to experience their Plot to Plate set menu; The Pig is well known for its kitchen garden and 25 mile ethos – growing what they can at each venue with as many suppliers and produce sourced from within 25 miles as possible. This is represented beautifully for the diner on the back of their menu.
The Plot to Plate menu aims to focus that availability of seasonal produce even further into a concise 2 or 3 course fixed price menu (£22.50 & £26.00 respectively), with the menu changing daily based on availability of ingredients and the imagination of the chefs – it is available Monday to Friday, but needs to be booked in advance (see further info here).
With a glass of English fizz in hand, we perused the menu; with the sunshine glistening in through the windows, and such a comfortable and casual country chic dining room full of well-aged wooden tables and chairs, vintage and mismatched cutlery, coloured glassware, and fresh garden herbs for decoration, we were feeling so relaxed we nattered far too much but thanks to the well trained staff, they spotted the right time to poke their snout in to get our order out of us.
We first enjoyed some delicious bread, salted butter, herb infused oil and smoked salt while we waited – incredibly punchy, fresh, simple but umami flavours, just beautiful – it was a good start; you can’t beat the taste of high quality fresh bread, salt, oil and butter, eating out or at home!
We decided to share our starters and switch halfway! We started with seared cuttlefish with purple sprouting broccoli & Willy’s cider dressing and Pinch of Salt coppa, garden lettuce and sourdough croutons were ploughed into. The cuttlefish is very similar to squid in texture, it was perfectly tender with pickled onion slices cutting through the dish. The soft meaty coppa dressed with the earthiest fresh garden leaves with much needed crunch from the crispy croutons.
Chargrilled pork rib steak, jersey royal salad and red wine dressing and South coast hake, caper sauce, garden chard were up next. Expertly cooked tender pork, in a delightful sauce with chargrilled spring onions, and on the side the freshest creamy yet light potato salad laced with herbs. My dining partner made some satisfying noises as he tucked into his meaty yet delicate fish in a lively fresh sauce – one of the best pieces of fish he had ever had. We couldn’t resist the sound of the side of tobacco onions (extra as per main menu price), and enjoyed these alongside our mains. They looked like curly fries but were deep fried onions with the most savoury moreish flavour, certainly reminiscent of paprika.
My lunch date’s iced lemon balm terrine with honey roasted pumpkin seeds arrived looking so pretty – it was so smooth and creamy, with a light hint of the lemon balm, warmth of sweet honey and crunch of the seeds, it was absolutely delightful. My Lyle’s syrup tart with Sutton Lacy pouring cream was exactly as I’d hoped and more; a treacle tart-like pud arrived – comforting, light, unctuous, it was a corker.
The portions really were perfect for lunch and even my experienced and roomy tummy was satisfyingly full at the end with only just enough room for a double espresso. I don’t often comment on price due to everyone’s budget being different – but this really is excellent value for money for the experience and the quality of the food.
Vegetarian or otherwise inclined? Don’t be fooled by our protein heavy lunch – with an ethos such as The Pig’s there is plenty of plant based items to satisfy other diets and preferences.
The service was subtle, professional yet personable, with the same warmth this country house exudes throughout. The Pig brand really know how to look after their customers, and this little piggy will most definitely go wee wee wee all the way back for more. *get’s diary out*.
The Pig at Combe, Gittisham, Honiton EX14 3AD
The meal provided in this review was gratis. Views expressed are independent of the business and is not seen or approved before publication.