It’s easy to make a pig’s ear out of butchery.
Thankfully, the chefs at this meat-focussed Islington gastropub know exactly what they’re doing.
200 years ago, Islington was still but a wee hamlet, surrounded by fields in which cattle, sheep and pigs happily grazed before they were carted off to Smithfield meat market. And now The Pig and Butcher team are bringing the cows home again, slicing all their cuts from whole animals, on-site, in their very own basement butchering room.
Which is impressive, if a little creepy-sounding.
The results: top-quality, native and rare-breed meat sourced directly from farmers from Cornwall to the Hebrides, expertly prepared by a fleet of highly trained chefs into a daily changing menu that reflects the best produce on offer that morning.
In a pub.
Said pub is a fairly spacious affair, with the ground floor split into drinking and dining areas. As befits The Pig and Butcher’s simple, hands-on approach to food, it’s a rustic space, with an eclectic collection of farmhouse tables and chairs, old church pews, blackboards and an assortment of vintage crockery, milk bottles and crates. Upstairs is a second dining room that converts into a private events space, complete with an idyllic country kitchen at one end (Aga included).
On the menu, you’ll find traditional British cooking that manages to elude any semblance of ‘stodge’. There’s brawn (here, a terrine made with meat from ‘Iron Age’ boar-pigs) with Dorset snails and garlic; smoked mackerel with Jersey Royal potatoes and kohlrabi; Cornish hake with rainbow chard and preserved lemon; chicken with charred leek, turnips, and cider-pickled prunes; and sharing steaks served with bone marrow and triple-cooked chips.
There’s just time for a quick gooseberry fumble (that’s a fruit fool-crumble) before you retire to the drinking parlour, where you’ll see out the evening with Belgian, German and London craft beers, English sparkling wines or a glass of good port…
…And perhaps a dark chocolate hotpot for good measure.
NOTE: The Pig and Butcher is open daily for dinner from 5pm, plus Sunday roasts from noon. You can find out more, and book a table, HERE.
The Pig and Butcher | 80 Liverpool Road, N1 0QD
Since you’re in the area… check out our guide to the best Islington restaurants