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Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Hampshire Hog Pub & Pantry

On my way home from the gym last week I noticed the Ruby Grand(which was a mediocre bar/pub on King Street) had been repainted on the outside. I thought to myself in my usual cynical tone, "you can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig". 

Upon closer inspection I noticed boxes piled high inside the pub.  Moving in for a nose around, I was pleasantly surprised by a bright eclectic new decor & a very extensive menu taped to the window. Lovely bar snacks, breakfast/ brunch, seasonal dinner menu & a deli offering as well. Whilst glancing at the menu I was distracted, as a full family size table was being laid out with all the menu items for the staff. This is when you know you have hit the jackpot; a restaurant that involves everyone in the team & encourages them to engage with the offering and experience. I head home and am immediately on Google looking for some clues and stumble across the Facebook page.. Score! They have a soft opening... after a few pleasant email exchanges with the lovely Jessy from the front of house team we are booked. 

Although I don't work in this industry anymore, it is still very much in my blood & the connection will never fully be out of my system. I am so excited.

We turned up with a table of five. Upon our arrival everyone was pleasant and extremely proud of the pub, you could feel that in their tone. The front of house team treated us as though we were family and friends arriving at a house warming party. This type of care & attention is perfectly fitted with this neighborhood, much like the nearby Lola and Simon.

We grab our drinks from the gorgeous new bar (wanted to have the special house ale but it was not available, hey ho). We are seated ready to inspect the menu, my eyes head straight for the polenta with poached egg and parmesan. The others at the table ordered the roasted squash and the ginger one had the raw salmon. The polenta was excellent, it had a soft, velvety mouthfeel with a hint of truffle. The poached egg added an extra level of richness and broke up the texture. The parmesan rounded it off nicely with a hit of saltiness. All I heard were mmm's and ahhh's from the others at the table but no one let me taste any of their starters.

Mains were steaks all round and one order of lamb. They were all melt in mouth, perfectly cooked & well seasoned. 

From my experience the dishes that are 'simple' are the easiest ones to get horribly wrong as you have nothing to hide behind. The quality of your ingredients, the skill & care of execution are transparent therefore there is no room for error.
Puds made everyone smile especially the treacle tart which was served with a scoop of Dulce de Leche ice cream. This ice cream was incredible, one of my friends, Ryan, said it tasted like a Werther's Original. So in true Katchi form we ordered 4 scoops for the table.

Bursting at the seams we still managed an espresso (how civilised), again great quality coffee. 

I highly recommend The Hampshire Hog for anyone who appreciates quality ingredients & enjoys being in an atmosphere where the staff really care about engaging the customers. If your looking for a place to just go to consume & 'fill a hole' it is definitely not for you.

Make sure you turn up hungry, thirsty and ready to feel like part of the family.

1 comment:

  1. I'm copy writing the Werther's Original suggestion...