Review: The Pig in the Wall, Southampton
A decade on from when it opened, Southampton's boutique little Piggie in the Wall is as popular as ever - with all the charm of its big PIG siblings
Tucked away in the medieval walls, close to the city docks, the The Pig In The Wall Southampton is the indie hotel group’s super-relaxed, boutique bolt-hole. Originally built as a private residence around 1820, the grand Georgian building was a pub, the Royal Standard from 1866 to 2007, briefly becoming a restaurant, before entering the fledgling PIG fold in 2012.
Still the smallest in the group’s ‘litter’ of eight hotels, a decade on from when this little Piggie opened, with its homely, local sourced menu and on-point service, The Pig in the Wall is still as popular as ever. Book early if you plan to stay: rooms are regularly snapped up for city breaks, pre-cruise layovers and overnighters.
The Pig in the Wall is far smaller than it’s country pile counterparts, but very on-brand. If you’ve dined at one of the bigger PIGS and loved the vibe, it won’t disappoint.
Arriving on a blowy Saturday lunchtime, we quickly warm up in the open plan lounge. Décor-wise, it’s a shabby-chic blend of rustic wooden tables and chairs, kitchen garden greenery, antique lamps and ornate fireplaces.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
Saturday lunchtimes are made for a sneaky beer. We’re recommended two great craft ones; a Unity Pale Ale, made nearby in Southampton and a tasty pilsner from the Andwell Brewing Company, in Hook.
To kick-off, we wallop our way through a plentiful Piggie bits platter. On it are hummus, soft cheese, sourdough croutons and gorgeous olives. They make a great starter, but it strikes me they’d taste fabulous with a negroni.
Handily, it’s on the bar menu, along with a Forager’s Highball, a mix of floral Seedlip Garden with lime juice, lime, mint and kombucha. Very quintessential PIG. Note to self – cocktails o’clock when next in town…
On to the mains. The Pig in the Wall’s deli selection looks tempting but after our chilly walk here we’re in the market for hot, hale and hearty sustenance. We find it in a chicken, leek and bacon pie (check out the piggie on the crust!) and a curried red lentil stew, which is absolutely packed with tasty veggies.
The produce (meat and veg) comes in from the main Brockenhurst Pig as part of the ‘25-mile’ super locally-sourced menu. If you’re staying and fancy eating a little later (supper is served until 8pm) or fancy giving both local Piggies a whirl in one hit, there’s a complimentary return transfer service to the Pig in the Forest at Brockenhurst.
And so – to pud! We plump for an absolutely spot-on Dorset apple crumble, two spoons and huge scoop of Jude’s vanilla ice cream. And yes, it really did taste as good as it looks…
The 12 shabby chic rooms at The Pig in the Wall come in three sizes. ‘Snug’ rooms are built in the eaves, rising in size to ‘comfy’ and ‘spacious’. All have lovely vintage touches like a Roberts radio and Bakelite phone. Breakfast is £10pp on top of the room rate for a continental selection or £14 for the ‘Piggy Pan’ meaty or veggie cooked breakfast.
OUT AND ABOUT
Just around the corner, The Merchant’s House delves back in time into life in the old town (reopens April 2022). Also in the neighbourhood, Southampton’s SeaCity Museum (above) has a brilliant Titanic exhibition (and some fantastic Victorian arcade machines).
Further along the city walls on Western Esplanade, there’s the massive West Quay complex, and the bars and indie restaurants at Oxford St are both less than 10 minutes’ walk away. Blockbuster theatre tours regularly come to The Mayflower, around 20 minutes’ from here on foot.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Friendly, on-point service and simple yet tasty dishes with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients that shine.
Not for: Late night dinner dates (although it would be a great pick for pre-theatre). There’s plenty to please but the menu isn’t huge.
£££: Wines by the glass are £4-£11.25, bottles £23 – £47. Cocktails are £6-£10, beers £5.50-£6.50. Piggy Bits are £3.95 each, smaller dishes £7.50-£13.50, larger plates £13-15 and deli counter salads are £4 for 1 spoon, £9 for a mixed plate. Puds are £6.50-£7.95, ice cream and homemade cake are £4.
The Pig in the Wall, 8 Western Esplanade, Southampton, SO14 2AZ. Tel: 0345 225 9494.