Once again, I had a Groupon voucher that is due to expire soon, so booked a ‘Date Night’ with my lovely mate on Monday.
Neither of us had been to The English Pig before, but I believe it has only been open a few months, so that is hardly surprising. our best mate actually lives in Barbican, so he was extremely keen to hear how our experience was.
I have actually decided to break this review into two parts to highlight the different aspects of our experience and I will start with the food.
As you may have guessed, The English Pig specialises in all things piggy, and with both me and my mate being happy piggy eaters, we knew we would be sampling the best the menu had to offer!
The starters were nice and light, not too large and nothing really heavy – just how you want a starter when you’re planning on a three course meal!
My broth was full of flavour, meaty and with lovely little bursts of freshness from the veg – especially the broad beans!
My date was blown away by her main – she said that it was THE best pork belly she had EVER had. The crackling had somehow rendered down and was extremely crisp but still attached to the meat. the cabbage was hiding in this photo, and I think her only criticism was that she could have done with more apple sauce!
My loin was beautifully tender, the kale was fresh and retained bite and my carrot puree was smooth and rich. My only criticism was that the pickled apple seemed a little too vinegary for my tastes and slightly overpowered the gravy.
My date said that the panacotta was a little more ‘solid’ than usual for a panacotta, but that the flavour was absolutely delish – however, the shortbread, although a nice texture wasn’t very orangey or rosemary-ey!
My dessert was billed as ‘Tiramisu’ but most definitely wasn’t. There was a some choaolte sauc eon the bottom, then a light milk coffee ‘jelly’ and a kahlua cream with some biscuity crumbs on the top. It was absolutely gorgeous, but most definitely not a tiramisu. Considering my luck having one at Jamie’s Italian recently, I think tiramisu is avoiding me!
So food was GREAT – we enjoyed every mouthful! Which brings me onto the other aspect of the evening – the service. OK, we were on a Groupon deal. The deal was £29 for two courses for 2 people with a bottle of house wine. I am not sure whether this had an impact on our treatment, but I certainly hope not – it’s not something that’s happened with a Groupon deal before!
My friend doesn’t drink much, and hadn’t realised wine was included in our deal, and had ordered drinks before I got there, so before we sat down I asked whether it would be possible to ‘swap’ our wine for dessert at all and was told no, which was fair enough I could totally understand that, but you have to ask these things.
There was oil and balsamic on our table when we sat down but we weren’t given any bread, although we noticed our neighbours receiving it automatically later on through our meal.
Noone actually brought us our wine. When we ordered our mains, I asked the waiter if we could have our ‘inclusive’ wine and he said he’d get the wine list, which I thought was slightly odd. He brought the list just after we’d received our mains and I asked which wine was included and he said “I don’t know, I’m the wrong person to ask!”…and said that he would send someone over to help us.
Noone came. When he eventually came to collect our plates, about 10 minutes after we’d finished he asked if someone had been over and I said they hadn’t and that we didn’t really want to open a bottle just to have with our dessert. He said that we could take a bottle of house wine away with us ‘if we wanted to’. As it had been included in our deal and it wasn’t our fault we’d not had a chance to have it, I said yes please and he brought it over.
We then sat there for about 10-15 minutes with noone bringing us a dessert menu, even though my friend kept trying to catch the eye of various waiting staff. The table behind us then left without ordering desserts and my mate spotted that their menus were still on their table (don’t know if they’d had the same problem!), so she grabbed their menus, and we chose, and then waited again to order. Eventually someone took our order, and the desserts arrived pretty quickly (the kitchen are obviously a lot more efficient!).
Then eventually we were able to catch another waiter’s eye and ask for the bill. 10-15 mins later AGAIN, we still hadn’t received it, so, knowing that the desserts were £5 each, we just left a tenner on the table and left – there was no way we were paying any of the optional 10% service charge after we had been what seemed like purposefully ignored for so long!
As we left, we said “The money is on the table” and the guy said “OK!”…that was it, not even sorry for the wait or anything.
It’s a real shame as we enjoyed the food so much and our experience was just completely tainted by the service. Not sure if I will be recommending on this basis 😦