The Potted Pig is one of those Cardiff restaurants that I’ve constantly heard positive reviews about but I have somehow struggled to find time to visit. I’m aware that this suitably earns me a slap on the wrist considering this establishment has been operating in our Welsh capital since 2011. Yet from my perception, it’s one that I have always envisioned to be a fantastic date-night restaurant or one that would be perfect for celebratory occasions. Or of course, simply for a treat just because. This is why I was so thrilled to experience my first evening here on a what would have otherwise been an ordinary Monday evening.
After receiving an invitation to dine here due to the restaurant celebrating opening on Mondays, I visited for a date night with my boyfriend. Located on the High Street just a few steps away from Cardiff’s iconic castle, the restaurant is based in an old bank vault, meaning visitors spend their evening downstairs, underground the city level. This setting really helps to create a relaxed, cosy vibe created by the cool brick walls and candlelight dining. As soon as we stepped into the main section of the restaurant, I felt comfortable, relaxed and highly excited to try the food.
We took our seats and our focus shifted instantly to the wine list. I know that the Potted Pig is known for its selection of gin but this spirit really isn’t a favourite of mine so wine it had to be. This year, our favourite has been red wine, Spanish Rioja, to be more precise. But tonight, we both opted for an Italian white wine as something a little different and because I knew it would pair well with my fish dishes that I already had my eye on.
After a little deliberation and pouring over the menus, for my starter, I decided to order fresh Devonshire crab on toast, priced at £8 per portion. I very rarely order crab while I’m at a restaurant, so this was a very special treat. I was anticipating a small portion but instead, my plate was filled with a relatively large portion of toasted bread, smeared with crab pâté and fresh chunks of crab and a small side of rocket. The warmness and crispy texture of the bread paired perfectly with the creamy taste of the pâté but was topped off very nicely with the fresh crab chunks. This was a deliciously refreshing starter and one which I would order again without hesitation.
My boyfriend decided to opt for the signature dish, Potted pig with pickles and toasted sourdough bread which was priced at £8.50. The presentation of the dish was so simple yet impressive, with the pulled pork quite literally served in a small glass pot, with the bread separating the pig from the vegetables. I did manage to sample a little bit of this and the pork was very tender and juicy and I was a little bit jealous, if only for a moment. But I can’t have everything *sigh*.
For my main, I decided to stick with the theme of fish and order the pan fried cod with crushed potato, samphire, poached egg and tarragon oil. On the menu for £19, the portion size of this dish was phenomenal. Our waiter explained that many other Cardiff venues were struggling to find large portion sizes of cod like this one but the supplier at the Potted Pig must be fishing with dynamite to find these goodies and I certainly wasn’t complaining. First, I started by slicing open my poached egg which revealed a perfectly runny yolk – lovely! The cod was also a winner, with a tender, moist texture with a light and delicious flavour. This particularly tasty when paired with the slightly crunchy samphire. All-in-all, a very delicious dish.
My boyfriend decided to opt for slow cooked pork belly, pommel puree, choucroute and green vegetables. Priced at £18.50, this was also a very generous portion and you could almost see his eyes light up when he saw how much pork belly was on the plate. Having tasted a little bit of this meat I can confirm that it truly just melted in your mouth which to me indicated that it had been perfectly slow cooked. Pork belly is a foodie favourite of mine and from just a small taste, I know it’s one of the best versions of this dish that I have tried in my beloved city. Of course, my boyfriend was absolutely thrilled with his choice and I must say, I could see why.
I was hoping to finish off the evening with a little sweet treat, but sadly we were both too stuffed to even consider another bite. I couldn’t bear to even look at the menu to see what I was missing out on – I knew it would just make me sad. But alas, it was time to leave and perhaps next time I’ll substitute my starter course for a dessert. Really, this just gives me another excuse to visit again. All-in-all, we truly had a wonderful evening in a relaxed environment and it was just what I needed to give me a boost on a very tired, dreary, November Monday evening. Of course, it helped that the food was simply delicious plus the staff achieved a perfect balance of being attentive yet giving us space to enjoy our meals. And of course, I’m always a fan of restaurants that don’t skimp on portion sizes.