Jessica Carter goes the whole hog for lunch at this porky palace…
Pigsty is the very first restaurant for the local brothers behind sausage-making biz The Jolly Hog. Want a bit of context? The edited version of the story involves Olly Kohn, former Bristol and Harlequins Rugby player, receiving a sausage-making machine (now a relic on show at the restaurant) as a gift, and subsequently setting about making the good quality, great-tasting bangers that he struggled to find elsewhere.
Younger bro Josh soon climbed aboard, and later on, middle brother Max followed suit. Before they knew it (did say this was the edited version), they were running a full-on catering and events company, and selling their products nationwide through Ocado, all the while getting their fair share of praise from well-known foodies.
So now they’ve opened Pigsty – a pork-themed restaurant at Bristol development, Cargo. And, making this a proper family affair, the guys’ dad even did the fit-out of the adjoining shipping containers-turned-eatery.
Thanks to some clever design, there’s room for a decent number of covers in the cosy gaff, without it feeling squashed. Obviously, the kitchen team is limited in terms of space for both themselves and equipment, so the brigade is small and the menu offerings pleasingly straightforward.
The day kicks off here at a blurry-eyed 7.30am, with Clifton Coffee and breakfast sarnies on sourdough to take away. If you have time to eat in, then the ‘breakfast in bread’ (£9) is the way to go – sausage, bacon, egg, cheese and tomato, packed into a hollowed-out sourdough loaf.
Come lunch, there’s plenty more to pig out on – think baps (£8), Scotch eggs, sausage rolls (both £5) and the like, as well as sides of sweet potato fries rosemary skin-on chips, and ’slaw, all served ’till 10pm. If all of the above takes your fancy, then we’d like to draw your attention to the Pig Board (£30), which, featuring a bit of everything, is the brave choice that we made on our visit…
A curl of thick crackling wrapped itself around a generous slice of slow-roasted pork belly, while golden, crisp croquettes with soft, fluffy potato and pork shoulder innards sat on a bed of baconaise (yup, it’s a thing, and it takes the form of moreishly salty mayo with hidden hunks of bacon).
Tender wisps of pulled pork were coated in a light barbecue sauce and piled in a delicious heap, while a hefty sausage roll made itself comfy on top. Made with the same meat that goes into those much-loved bangers, the inside of the roll was flavoursome and lean (really good quality cuts of pork are used for Jolly Hog sausage meat, not just the usual off-cuts) and it was wrapped in a delicately flakey pastry, whose thickness was in good proportion to the meat.
There were sausages too, of course; one classic pork and sage, one containing good-sized chunks of black pudding and apple, and one that saw its porky insides mixed with sweet red onion. They were stacked on top of some really good onion relish. Cooked in the oven and finished off on the grill, these little guys wore crisp, caramelised jackets, with a sweetness that offset the meaty, well-seasoned interior. And they’re all happily gluten free too, thanks to the omission of breadcrumbs or any other bulking agent.
Scotch eggs are a big deal here. We tried the meaty kind, whose thick and runny yolk oozed out slowly when it was cut in half, but there’s also a mac ’n’ cheese version (we know, right).
Drinks-wise, there’s a handful of brews on the go, including the local likes of Wild Beer Co (whose bar is just opposite), Wiper and True, and Hunt’s cider from down the M5 in Devon.
Pigsty is a straight-up, no-nonsense kind of outfit – the space limitations mean that things have been honed and kept right to the point. Good quality, comforting and speedy British food, prepared to take away or eat in, will surely nail it for these brothers, who have bagged themselves one of the best locations at Wapping Wharf.
You can pick up packs of their sausages and bacon from the restaurant to cook at home, too. (Funny you ask actually, because, yes, we have – and can vouch for the black treacle-cured rashers, especially.)
PIGSTY, Units 1 & 2 Cargo, Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6WP; 0117 929 7700