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Oct 28, 2013 03:44 AM

[Cartmel, Cumbria] Pig & Whistle

Simon Rogan has recently bought the village pub in Cartmel, meaning he has a trio of restaurants that mirror Bray exactly ie Pig & Whistle = Crown, Rogan & Co = Hind's Head and of course L'Enclume = (or is greater to!) Fat Duck.

There doesn't seem to have been any makeover (yet) so it is a standard higgledy piggledy pub, with three little rooms, one of which still seems to be for local drinkers. There was an intriguing looking menu, essentially accessible versions of the L'Enclume MO eg Pollock, warm potato salad, bacon, leeks, mussels and lovage emulsion or pear crumble with hyssop ice cream. But we stuck with the bar snacks.

The BRILLIANT bar snacks - a highly aromatic Scotch Egg with a perfectly runny yolk and a lovely mustard mayonnaise, a great Welsh Rarebit on soda bread, and some moreish hake goujons with handmade tartare sauce.

Service was a bit stressed and forgetful, but sweet. A really good light lunch option if you're doing the Rogan/L'Enclume weekend.

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  1. We first went to the Pig and Whistle just over two years ago, before Simon Rogan had taken over operations - we were staying in one of the B&B rooms upstairs.

    This time we had booked a cottage for the weekend, and ate at the Pig twice - once for bar snacks, and once for a sunday roast (I'll comment separately on this).

    So, on a rainy and cold Saturday lunch time, what better than to have an early lunch by the fire in the Pig and then watch Liverpool demolish Arsenal in the Royal Oak up the road. I was really looking forward to the two of us sharing the short menu of hot snacks as a decent brunch - but the standard was a bit mixed. We ordered everything on the menu:

    - fish goujons - good tartare sauce, but fish was a bit dry;
    - beer and cheese on toast was good;
    - mini ham hock croquettes were disappointing (we had adored the larger versions served to us as an amuse in Rogan and co the night before, so we got two portions of these, but regretted it).
    - Something described as 'garlic and thyme fries' - these were honestly horrible. It was mashed potato formed into 'chips' and then fried. Very strange, and the flavour of fresh thyme was way too strong. I hope that was just an experiment ...
    - I think there was another dish, but I can't remember what it was.

    After reading positive reviews, and having also had a brilliant Sunday lunch there, I have a feeling that we turned up on a bad day - so I'm hoping this isn't a typical experience.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Theresa

      Theresa, where was the cottage you stayed? We tried to do this last time but couldn't find one which would let us just do a couple of nights, even in low season.

      I am very sorry about the ham croquettes btw!

      1. re: helen b

        It was a lovely one bed place - not very characterful, but the living area was lovely with a woodburner and decent kitchen bit. They had made really good use of the space - there was plenty of room and it was fun playing house for a weekend. Most places I've looked at will do three night weekends between the half term breaks in October and February. Many will do it even in high season if it's a last minute booking. This was about two mins walk from the Pig.

        Not sure about the rules on here, but I'll send you the link if I can do it via your profile...

        1. re: helen b

          Just had a look, and can;t see away to send you a private message - am I being dense?

      2. After the less than enjoyable Saturday bar-snack lunch, we returned on the Sunday for a late lunch/early evening meal. I like that they serve this all day on sundays - it means you can go for a good long walk and not worry about having to get to the pub for your roast dinner by 2pm for last food orders.

        This was a lovely meal - starters of smoked salmon, chicken liver parfait (REALLY good - came with a slightly too sweet chutney), and ham hock terrine (with an overly sweet piccalilly). Sweet pickles and chutneys seem to be a bit of a Rogan thing.

        The roast beef was great and properly rare. Good roasties and veg served with it, plus a lovely hot cheesy leek dish served in a little skillet. The pork was good too. We didn't have pudding, but went back to the cottage to finish off the cheese we had bought (having remortgaged our house) at the Cartmel cheese shop the day before. Will definitely go there again - it may have been my best ever roast dinner in a pub/restaurant - if not, it was definitely in my top two or three.