‘Happy as a pig in mud’ - Why The Pigs in Edgefield is a must-visit restaurant
PUBLISHED: 08:48 17 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:48 17 October 2020
Set in the middle of rural north Norfolk, and surrounded by picturesque fields and countryside, lies a quaint eatery which will leave anyone who enjoys a good meal as happy as a pig in muck.
Based off Norwich Road, on the outskirts of the village of Edgefield, The Pigs - as it is known today - reopened its doors back in 2006 after an extensive refurbishment. Additions since have included accommodation and a spa.
The restaurant already has a fantastic word-of-mouth reputation for both couples and families, so I was keen to see if it lived up to its recommendations.
We managed to get booked in on a cold and dark Tuesday evening, and as we approached the building it was like a lighthouse beacon in the night - a welcome sight with plenty of parking for us.
Social distancing measures were firmly in place with clear signs to wear masks and sanitiser to use before entering the bar area.
On arrival, we were quickly welcomed by staff and shown the specials board. Then me, my partner and two of my three little piglets (as the youngest was left behind with grandparents) were shown to our table.
The rustic chic decor makes the restaurant area bright, airy and very welcoming.
While the boys busied themselves with the provided drawing materials, we devoured the menu. Even before we arrived, we had been fascinated by it.
As well as some delicious-sounding main meals, it included piggy pieces and iffits - the Norfolk version of tapas. And that’s exactly what we went for; potted Corpusty pork with apple chutney, crackling and farmhouse toast, Cley haddock smokey with dapple sauce and toasted sourdough and sticky pig’s cheeks with smoked bacon and pan gravy (£4.50 each).
The pork had a flavoursome and tasty, pulled texture, perfect for combining with the chutney and spreading on the toast. The haddock would have only been made better if there had been more of it. The cheese worked incredibly well incorporated into the sauce and crumbled on top, and could probably be declared Norfolk’s nicest fish pie. And the sticky pig’s cheeks, as unusual as they sounded, were rich and meaty with a lovely smokey barbecue flavour.
The Pig’s iffits could absolutely be enjoyed as a meal on their own. Honestly, we all could have nibbled happily on them all night. Even the youngest, aged five, couldn’t get enough of the cheeks.
However, we were already excited about what was following.
I opted for the Pigs house salad which consisted of smoked chicken, bacon and new potatoes with toasted seeds, onion jam and honey mustard dressing (£13.50).
Don’t let anyone tell you salad is boring. At least not this salad anyway. The flavours and textures running through this mammoth-sized portion were phenomenal. I’m putting it down to the onion jam but the toasted seeds were also pleasant and gave a welcomed depth to the dish.
My partner had The Three Pigs belly of pork; slow cooked pork belly, smokey bacon beans, apple chutney, black pudding and crackling (£15.50). He also ordered a side portion of hand-cut chips for £3.50 (which, quite frankly, are worthy of an award) but the beans were so nice and plentiful, he needn’t have bothered.
Despite being belly pork, the cut showed minimal signs of fat, and was complimented well by the additional elements - especially the black pudding which packed a punch.
One of the boys went for mini battered cod and chips with peas, while the other decided to try ribs for the first time, served with chips and corn on the cob. Both dishes were fresh and a good size, although I do think they would have enjoyed more iffits!
Because we’d chosen the ‘whole hog’ menu (£10 each) for the boys, they were able to have puddings as well as an included drink.
The eldest went for a piping hot and fragrant seasonal fruit crumble with custard, which he wouldn’t let me sample I’m afraid, while the youngest inhaled a mini banoffee sundae of fresh banana, caramel ice cream, whipped cream and toffee sauce.
The adults ‘shared’ - I had one spoonful - a piggie mess, a dessert of honey roasted cherry, dark chocolate, meringue, and whipped cream. While I thoroughly enjoyed my tiny bit my other half considered it a little underwhelming for the £6.
A testament to our enjoyment of the meal is that we’ve already booked to go back again.
This really was an enjoyable meal, in a lovely setting, where we felt looked after at a place which had top rate food knowledge and clearly a passion for cooking.
We felt like we were sitting inside the kitchen of a large country manor. The Pigs has a beautiful charm about it and inside was clean and light with chunky wood details and quirky ornaments tastefully displayed. There is plenty of room but a sense of cosiness has been retained.
In total, with three ‘starters’ to share, two mains, one dessert, two children’s meal deals, and drinks, our bill came in at £77.39. We did take advance of the 10pc Norfolk Passport discount - a free-to-join membership programme which gives members exclusive perks across the county. For the quality of the food, the setting, and exceptional service this was a great value meal.
My partner’s pint of San Migeul was £5, while I had a diet coke at £2.40. The boys’ juices were included with their meal. What really caught my eye was the ‘gin shelf’ which included an array of local gins from Norfolk and Suffolk. There were also cocktails on offer and a good selection of ales and wine.
I’m told I’m not the only one who was thrown by the ‘boars’ and ‘sows’ signs. This is another little touch which really brings The Pigs to life. The toilets were stylish and roomy, and most importantly, clean and accessible for all.
Although our table was up some stairs, there were other areas to sit in which would accommodate people with mobility issues. The car park is gravel though. There are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian options available.
The service was absolutely spot on. All of the staff wore masks and were attentive and especially friendly to the boys, who enjoyed ordering their meals “like grown-ups”. The icing on the cake though, was their knowledge of the food. Our waiter was able to answer all of our questions about ingredients and processes.
Have I already mentioned the iffits? If you don’t fancy anything else on the menu, just go and have a selection of these.
The Pigs has the perfect balance of amazing food in a spectacular setting. It’s homely and friendly, with meals anyone and everyone will enjoy.
Three things to try:
1. The toast and bread lunch menu (from £9). There’s a whole host of delicious things on there.
2. Piggy pieces/iffits. These are amazing and unique little treats which are reasonably priced too.
3. Mrs Temples cheese board served with Dapple, Copy’s Cloud, Binham blue, celery, grapes, herb butter, apple chutney, cheese biscuits and eccles cake (£10). Now that’s what you call a cheese board.
If you liked that, try these...
1. The Earle Arms at Heydon.
Really decent pub food with a cosy home feel, in one of Norfolk’s prettiest villages. The roast dinners are incredible.
2. The Bell at Brisley.
Exquisite pub grub with a fine dinning twist in a gorgeous rural setting.
3. The Hunworth Bell at Hunworth.
A popular little word-of-mouth establishment, the food here is personal and delicious and set within the stunning village on Hunworth, near Holt.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.
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