I can’t think of a better way to spend a wintery Saturday afternoon than lunch at The Pig on the Beach at Studland, followed by a bracing walk to Old Harry Rocks.
The Pig on the Beach opened its doors in June last year and has been garlanded with praise ever since. A gorgeous 23-bedroom country house, with stunning views across the Dorset coastline, it received 1,100 room bookings within the first 24 hours of taking orders and scooped the coveted Sunday Times Hotel of the Year award three months after its launch.
This part of Dorset isn’t exactly awash with restaurants but The Pig on the Beach more than makes up for it. For a start it’s a vision to behold, from its shabby chic style to its wondrous food, most of it grown in The Pig on the Beach’s own kitchen garden or sourced within 25 miles.
As we sat in front of the fire with a glass of Prosecco it was fascinating to look at the map on the back of the menu and spot where everything comes from. The produce includes locally picked truffles, honey from Rob Field in Swanage and beer from the Isle of Purbeck Brewery down the road (my husband and son reckon the brewery’s Solar Power beer is top notch).
The Pig’s waiting staff – in their distinctive uniform of pink shirts, jeans and Converse – are charming, helpful and ultra-knowledgeable about the menu. We were lucky enough to get a table in the conservatory, overlooking the hotel lawn and the sea beyond. The only problem is that the view is so perfect that you don’t ever want to leave.
The food is perfect too. I chose salt baked garden celeriac and truffle salad with pears, hazelnuts and radicchio, followed by line caught Portland sea bass with charred leeks, pink fir potatoes and crab sauce and it tasted as divine as it looked.
All in all. I can’t think of anything about The Pig on the Beach that I don’t like. If it wasn’t just down the road from where we live I’d book up for a weekend on the spot. Come to think of it, I might just do that anyway.
PS. The Pig on the Beach is the fourth Pig hotel (the others are in Brockenhurst, Southampton and Bath). And hurrah, a fifth has opened in Combe, near Honition in Devon.