Last Friday, after going for lunch at Saint Paul’s House; I thought that I should really cook, save money, and use up what was in my fridge. However, my husband returned home with all the Friday feelings, asked if I wanted to go out for dinner, and I immediately said yes (no food-related willpower whatsoever). We had a little think about where to go, and decided to head to The Pig & Tail in the JQ, because we hadn’t been there for over a month. It was pouring with rain, and The Pig & Tail has that cosy, British pub vibe that I love, with plenty of interior design goals (exposed brick, teal and mustard soft furnishings, ornate wallpaper, high ceilings…I could go on and on). It was the perfect choice for a super chilled Friday night, with great food and drinks.
We normally opt for an array of the smaller, tapas-style dishes from the menu. However, we thought we’d go for a sharing platter, and as it was Friday; the Fish Platter seemed apt. I do love the thrill of a “sharing” platter; as an only child, with not the best sharing reputation, I like to see how (un) evenly the food can be distributed between me, and usually, Marv. If you get to eat more of your favourite things on the board in front of you; you obviously win. I won Friday (I’ll stop with my petty character traits now, but I still win). Anyway; we thought we’d take advantage of the 2 for £10 cocktail menu first, and ordered two of The Soured Tails. We started slurping on the bourbon and amaretto based sours (yummmm), and ordered our food from the lovely guy who served us.
The pub was filling up steadily, and it felt like everyone was there for a similar laid-back Friday night, out of the rain. The vibe was friendly, light, and relaxed; just how I like my pubs. The food and drinks menu are thoughtful, and the quality has never disappointed me; tonight was no different. I decided to order a dish of garlic buttered kale with toasted flaked almonds; I always enjoy something green if I know I’m in for fried delights, to balance out the meal. My husband just isn’t a kale fan (nothing to do with the venue; he just doesn’t do kale), so I had the whole dish to myself (I win again!). I bloody well loved that simple dish of kale, especially coupled with the rest of my meal. The creamy, salty addition of the butter, and the crunch of the nuts took that kale from cabbage to savage (I feel that’s copyright worthy), and I appreciated it.
We also ordered house fries, which were proper, pub chunky chips; lovely, hot and crisp. Well, we were having fish, so it seemed like a natural marriage.
Now, lets get to the main event; the fish platter. Brought out on a wooden paddle-like board; I felt my eyes light up. It was full, and brimming with food, yet it still managed to retain style prowess…the competition had begun. I reached for the potted hot smoked salmon first, and moved it closer to my side of the platter (smooth move Fay). Then it was time to start filling up our clean plates that accompanied all the sharing food.
There was a mini fish cake each; these were a generous size, and I’d have been happy if one was presented to me as a starter. A crispy exterior led you inside to a soft centre of perfectly proportioned potato and fish. I loved that they were ball-shaped, and you could have eaten them in two mouthfuls comfortably; I’m not saying I did that*, but I thought I’d let you know, so you can imagine the size better. There were drops of sauce on each side of the board (yay; no sharing here), which made a great addition to the crispy fried items on the platter.
*I’m also not saying that I didn’t do that either
Next along were fish goujons; these were presumably cod or haddock (the menu didn’t specify). The fish flaked and melted in the mouth, and didn’t suffer any dryness which can sometimes happen with fillets this small. Again, the dips complemented this area of the platter, and I think we managed to go half and half with portions (see, I can share). Then came my favourite part of the whole meal; the crayfish at the end, coated in a Marie Rose-style sauce. This part of the meal caused me inner panic as I tried to work out how stealthily I could inhale most of it. I just kept sticking my fork in and consuming as much of those paprika-dusted seafood delights as I could. I’d happily have the crayfish on their own with a salad or in a sandwich; they were big, soft, and fresh.
The platter also came with a generous serving of fresh bread, sliced into chucks; these were great for popping my smoked salmon onto, and gave a crunchy crust to the soft and creamy salmon. Apologies, as I didn’t get a picture of the bread, but I assure you it was there, and there was plenty to go around.
A bowl of salad leaves, sun-blush tomatoes, topped with pickled cabbage, onions, and teeny gherkins also came with the platter. I could eat pickled stuff all day, and the vinegary crunch of the veg contrasted with the fresh, leafy greens and sweet tomatoes. The platter, salad, and bread ensured we had a balanced meal, with all the texture and flavours you could ask for. I feel it was well thought-out, and care and attention had been put into each element; nothing felt like an afterthought. The bread and salad meant that there was no need to order extra sides, but we always get over-excited when reading through a menu, and temptation got the better of us.
As usual; the service from each member of the team was warm, helpful, and friendly so that we felt comfortable and relaxed. We were stuffed at the end of the meal, and warm enough to brave the weather to walk home in the rain. I got all the cosy, autumnal feelings, and can’t wait to return to eat and drink soon. If you’re in the Jewellery Quarter; The Pig & Tail makes the dreamiest local, and is worth travelling to from further afield, for the atmosphere, environment, and consumables. I left feeling like I had won at Friday.
Peace, love, and sharing (haha), Fay x