karohemd: (Photo)
[personal profile] karohemd
On Thursday I had the opportunity to shoot the action in the kitchen at The English Pig, Johnnie Mountain's restaurant in Barbican, London. I've been a fan of the place since I was there last month and tried their signature pork belly dish.
Since Tom Kneale started as head chef, they revised their menu to feature only pork based dishes (no other meat, no fish, no vegetarian option) to pay justice to the restaurant's name. Yes, there's even a chocolate and bacon creme brulee as dessert.
When head chef Tom posted some phone photos of the new dishes on twitter I made an off-handed comment of offering to come down and take some nicer ones and he took me up on the offer so on Thursday after work, I made my way down to London.
The restaurant is on the ground floor of a large office building just down the road from Barbican tube station on Aldersgate St. and if it wasn't for the signature blackboard on the street you might even miss it as you walk past. The blackboard is one of Johnnie's trademarks and always has something entertaining on it. See for yourself:
One side of the trademark board The other side of the trademark board

This post was getting rather long and picture-heavy so here's one taster shot and the rest are under the cut:

Plating the coriander fillet

The restaurant itself is rather dark, all dark woods, indirect lighting and lots of candles everwhere, simple, yet elegant.
Considering the size of the place, the kitchen is small but efficiently laid out. As the evening wasn't very busy, I managed to stay mostly out of the way, taking photos from the service side of the pass and occasionally peering around the corner. Sadly, this also meant I didn't get a chance to see all the dishes.
Starters: On the left, crispy pig's ears salad, on the right, braised cheeks (my choice)
Crispy Pig's Ears Salad Braised Cheeks

Mains: The Pig's signature dish is the 21 hour roasted pork belly with mustard mash and savoy cabbage:
Plating the Belly 21 hour Pork Belly

Chargrilled chop, prepared by head chef Tom Kneale:
Head Chef Tom Kneale Pork Chop

Smoked Hock:
Smoked Hock

Coriander Fillet:
Coriander Fillet

Iberico Pork Rice Pudding:
Iberico Pork Rice Pudding

Shoulder Steak, braised in cider with vegetables and strawberries. The latter might sound odd but they really worked because the other ingredients and seasoning balanced the flavours. I had this as my main and really enjoyed it.
Shoulder steak braised in cider Shoulder steak braised in cider

Desserts: Chocolate fondant with white chocolate sauce (between the layers) and dark chocolate "soil" in a plant pot. This was fun, rich and very yummy indeed and my choice of dessert.
Chocolate Fondant

A "deconstructed" Lemon Pie:
Deconstructed Lemon Pie

Chocolate and Bacon(!) Creme Brulee:
Chocolate & Bacon Creme Brulee

The brigade: Sous Damian, Head Chef Tom, Pastry Chef Wyman (plus Tom from Stokey Secret Supper who wasn't available for the group photo):
The Brigade

A few more shots from the kitchen action
Adding cider to the shoulder steak

Tom prepping pig's ears:
Crispy pig's ears

Frying away:
Crispy pig's ears

Building the lemon pie:
Building the Lemon Pie

The Creme Brulee gets its blow torch treatment:
Blow torch!

Plating the coriander fillet:
Plating the coriander fillet

The pork bellies are prepped after service and will be ready by start of service the next day:
Prepping a pork belly

Prepping a pork belly

A few more photos on flickr

Many thanks to head chef Tom Kneale for this opportunity and to the whole team for feeding me afterwards.

Date: 26/6/11 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] omentide.livejournal.com
Great photos and an interesting insight into what usually stays hidden!

Date: 26/6/11 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com
Thank you! Yes, it was an interesting experience.

Date: 27/6/11 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whiskeylover.livejournal.com

Great pictures- I feel hungry now...

... but it always grates that so many people get that Hamlet quote wrong... :(

Date: 28/6/11 10:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com
Thank you! They definitely know how to do pork. :)

Date: 27/6/11 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] motodraconis.livejournal.com
I really want to eat there now! I take it they were pleased with their photos?

Date: 27/6/11 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com
*grins* Their normal prices aren't bad (for a good restaurant in the city) but they're doing a Groupon deal over summer (http://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/london/the-english-pig/479011), so now is the time. Boo, the deal is sold out already!

I'll be going back, too because I want to try the bacon brulee. I just had the fondant because that looks too damn cute.

Yep. :o)
Edited Date: 27/6/11 08:52 am (UTC)

Date: 28/6/11 08:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bateleur.livejournal.com
Brilliant! I love the look of that soil-in-a-pot dessert.

Date: 28/6/11 10:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com
Isn't it? Tastes great, too. :o)
What you can't see under the soil (which is basically a crumble mix with almonds and cocoa) is the fondant and the white chocolate sauce.
They're currently experimenting with a white choc soil but it's proving difficult.

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