Afterthoughts – Oinkfeast at The Salted Pig
Being born in the year of the pig, it’s ironic that pork is probably my favourite kind of meat – it almost feels a tad like self-cannibalism. As a true Northern China girl, pork was probably the first type of meat introduced to me as a child, and I like to stick to what I know. So when I heard about The Salted Pig, they had me at “pig”.
Stepping into this newish restaurant in L Place, which has been transformed from the old Se-sa-me sushi joint into a rustic Le Creuset heaven, I was greeted by a cheerleading pyramid of plastic piggies bearing uncanny resemblance to Spider Pig from the Simpsons movie.
Seeing this as a good omen for the oinkfest to come, I am led to my table through the rustically charming, laid-back restaurant. The whole setup reminds me of a quaint French countryside restaurant, with a little bit of New York butcher shop thrown in. After a round of scanning the bountiful Le Creuset merchandise with exclamations of “ohhh I have that” and “ohhh I want that!” (Le Creuset has a partnership with the restaurant – hence the charming pots and pans) I sit down to scan the menu, which also doubles as the placemat. The menu is straight-forward but filled with items that are essential to any piggy feast – roasted pork loin, pork belly, and also items for the non-pork eater – chicken, seafood etc. But seriously, not eating pig here is like ordering fish at a steakhouse – almost criminal!
We settled on the charcuterie platter and some shiraz for starters. I love the no fuss way their “wine list” works – it’s basically a chalk board listing 3 size options for wine, and all types of wine share an uniform price depending on the size ordered. The charcuterie platter arrived with an assortment of porky goodies – cold cuts, scotch egg, pickles, homemade terrine and rillettes. I was thrilled to savour rillettes again, as I’ve developed a love for the fatty, pate-like porky spread while vacationing in the Loire Valley, a region in France famous for its rillettes. It’s just not a common starter you find in Hong Kong restaurants.
Again, I apologize for the dark, murky photos – it just looks way too geeky to bring a proper camera to a casual dinner with friends.
Next, we ordered two mains for a party of four, as most mains come in portions for sharing. The “Rub N Tickle” pork belly cooked “sous-vide” came wearing a golden crown of pork crackling. After some (unappetizing) hand crunching, we managed to crack the porky skin into equal portions to share between the four of us. As the pork belly was cooked sous-vide, all the natural juices stayed in the meat, and the texture was wonderfully bouncy and plump. The flavouring, somehow, strangely reminded me of cha-siu (maybe I’ve been spending way too much time in Asia?). I happily devoured several slices, including all the fat in between the piggy layers of meat. The accompaniment of coleslaw and egg / potato salad was good, but I was more tunnel-visioned towards the pork.
Our next main was “The Rack”, which comprised of pork loin slow-cooked on the bone, with a hefty serving of roasted carrots and fennel. This was my favourite main out of the two, first of all, because meat near the bone always packs the most flavour. Secondly, the succulent, yet firm texture of the meat reminded me of a particularly memorable whole leg of veal I had during a trip to Paris.
We also had two carb-licious sides, although none were true stars.
Verdict: Awesome – definitely worth many revisits. Hearty food in a rustic, charming environment with great service and knowledgable staff. And the price is a bargain for the quality of food and the Central location – the Salted Pig definitely won’t break the piggy bank!