Our editor Rebecca Moore heads to Harlyn Bay near Padstow to tuck into The Pig’s 25-mile menu…
As soon as I walked through the entrance at The Pig at Harlyn Bay, my mind jumped back to 2012 when I visited the flagship, and eldest of the now litter of seven; The Pig at Brockenhurst in the New Forest. A decade had passed yet there was a sense of warm familiarity. Rural, full of charm, a smell of good food in the air, but above all, a friendly atmosphere.
The Pig at Harlyn Bay has been on my radar since it opened back in the summer of 2020. A somewhat challenging time to open in hospitality, but coming from good stock The Pig at Harlyn Bay has had a revolving door of visitors ever since the launch.
Perched above Harlyn Bay (yes, you guessed it), it’s one of Cornwall’s most historic houses with 15th century origins and plasterwork, plus other features from Medieval, Jacobean, and Georgian times. And with a house this size, the grounds are equally impressive.
We ate in the dining room, where they’ve got the balance just right – unfussy yet special. There’s plenty to stare at before you’ve even got to the menu, from jarred pickled beetroot and potted herbs to original fireplaces and ornate butter dishes – it’s an eclectic mix.
The infamous 25-mile menu is probably the most special part of any ‘Pig’ experience. At least 80 per cent of the fresh ingredients will be sourced locally or from its own kitchen. And if you’ve been to any of the other Pigs, you’ll know that the kitchen garden is the beating heart of the business. Simply flip the menu and there’s a map of Cornwall, highlighting all of its most reputable producers, which are productively used in every dish.
Something that stood out for me, is that unlike many restaurants it doesn’t favour meat, exclusively offer fish or wholly champion veggie dishes. Meat eaters, fish lovers, vegetarians and vegans are all equally treated. My dining partner is gluten free, and this wasn’t a problem with a jolly waitress happily pointing out what could and couldn’t be eaten.
Between us we munched on ‘piggy bits’ – rather decadent pork nibbles – enjoyed cured Port Isaac monkfish, served with mangetout and smoked yoghurt, dreamy ‘Middlewhite’ pork loin with senshyu onions and gooseberry sauce and tucked into delicious side dishes; thrice cooked chips, carel onions with toasted hazelnuts and buttered garden greens – with many accompaniments coming from the kitchen garden, 40 yards from our table.
The menu is creative but not intimidating, wholesome, and unbelievably fresh. Like most restaurants, you get what you pay for. It’s not cheap but it’ll be a gastronomic experience you’ll never forget. And if it’s a special occasion that brings you here, it would be rude not to wash it down with a glass of Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut, as the back of the menu will tell you, the vineyard is a mere 16 miles away.