The pig has always been one of my favourite animals… mainly when it’s served on a plate in any of its delicious forms! So when I heard that “Japanasian” restaurant Se Sa Me in The L Place was closing to make way for a place specialising in PIG, do you think I was upset?! Most definitely not! In fact, when I heard about The Salted Pig’s imminent opening, I was like a child on Christmas Eve, excitedly calculating just how much pig I could physically eat!
The Salted Pig is brought to us by the team behind Shore Restaurant & Bar, complete with its wonderful chef Jason Black – so he’s not only a specialist in cow, but pig too (it makes me wonder how exciting he could make chicken!).
The space has been entirely transformed from its Se Sa Me days; it is now a casual, down to earth eatery with bare wooden tables, simple wooden chairs, rustic knick-knacks and creative hanging lights. The menu reflects the homely décor; there is no air of fancy fine dining where you pay top dollar for a measly, albeit beautifully presented, crumb. Instead, the majority of the dishes come in hearty portions and are for sharing, family style.
Our ‘oink-fest’ began with a pre-appetizer charcuterie platter, consisting of five kinds of cold cuts, pork terrine, pork rillettes, scotch eggs and piccalilli. I was particularly impressed by the quality of the cold cuts, the smoothness of the rillettes and the sheer perfection of the homemade scotch eggs.
To follow came a dish of gorgeous bacon-wrapped scallops with broad bean, pea and mint ‘mash’ and cider dressing. The scallops were only lightly seared, giving them the most perfect, firm yet never rubbery texture. Whilst I loved the combination of scallop and bacon, my only suggestion is that the bacon could have been just a touch crispier to add a further contrast in textures.
Next up was a green bean, broad bean and sweet pea salad with crunchy baby lettuce hearts, creamy feta and warm bacon dressing – total summer in a bowl.
Moving on to the mains, we shared three between the four of us, as two are designed as sharing plates. The “Rub n Tickle” pork belly, having been cooked sous-vide, was packed full of flavour and incredibly juicy. Obviously it was a fatty piece of meat, but that’s what pork belly is all about, especially when the pork and fat are so beautifully cooked that they both melt into one. This came served with a lovely potato and egg salad, coleslaw, and amazingly crunchy crackling, alongside an adorable cute mini Le Creuset pot of delicious special sauce.
From the accurately named ‘Porker Feast’ section of the menu, we shared The Rack, a mouth-wateringly tasty and succulently tender slow-cooked pork loin rack. Served alongside roasted carrots, onions and fennel, with a jug of creamy mustard sauce, this was indeed a feast on its own.
A sage and mustard-crusted pork loin steak with white mushroom and marsala cream sauce was also incredible – faultlessly juicy with a lovely flavoursome crust. I particularly loved the fact that it was served with roasted Granny Smith apples, which added a tartness to complement the sweetness of the sauce and the saltiness of the pork.
Although we didn’t really need sides, we tried the classic mac ‘n cheese (the ultimate comfort food), the pancetta braised creamy Brussels sprouts (would definitely add magic to any Christmas meal!), and, just to be healthy, the cherry tomato salad with basil (wonderfully refreshing and light).
After all this, we tried not one… not two… but all five desserts! I imagine it’s too much to suggest you save space for all five, but I strongly recommend at least leaving enough room for the raspberry marshmallow with rhubarb compote, banana and fudge Eton mess, and particularly the incredible carrot cake, made with olive oil and topped with a carrot crisp… it may actually rival my own homemade carrot cake!
Prices for this ‘oink-fest’ will surprise you – in a good way. For an abundant three-course meal with wine (served by the carafe), you won’t be paying much more than $350-400 a head. The Salted Pig is not only doing something completely different to anywhere else in Hong Kong, but it is doing it well, with excellent service, for very reasonable prices. I’m very excited about how close it is to my office… but it does make me fear for my waistline!
P.S. Since writing this, I have already been back for lunch (can you tell I loved it?) and wowee! Go for the ‘Porker Set Lunch’ and get the shredded pork knuckle sandwich – it’s seriously worth the food coma it will send you into afterwards…
SASSY DISCOUNT: All Sassy readers can get 10% off their bill at The Salted Pig until 31 October, 2012! Simply mention SASSY to get your discount – and enjoy the feast!
The Salted Pig, 2/F, The L Place, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, 2870 2323
Check out more from Ale on her fab blog, The Dim Sum Diaries!