A restaurant themed around a single ingredient is a tall order to pull off, but it’s a challenge that the Jolly Hog team is uniquely equipped to tackle. Known for their award-winning British free range sausages and bacon guaranteed by the RSPCA in supermarkets across the UK, these meat experts have created a menu dedicated to a single item of their handiwork, showcasing their delicious versatility.
This weekend, Jolly Hog’s harborside restaurant The Pigsty, which usually serves hot dogs and burgers, is operating a special small plates menu that puts the humble rasher of bacon front and center on every plate. In 2021, pork aficionados wowed Bristol with their pigs in blankets at a Christmas pop-up, and this latest experiment has proven just as popular, as slots for the three-day bacon party sold out badly. early.
There is walk-in availability, or alternatively, you can order part of the limited-edition menu via Uber Eats and have your bacon fix delivered right to your door. But if you can eat, we recommend it, as there’s a celebratory atmosphere at Pigsty as he embarks on his three-day pig feast aided in part by giant gold balloons spelling BACON over the dining room. A refreshing Raspberry Dragon Fruit Sour Bear is also on offer this weekend to help cut the grease from washing up on a few more dishes.
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If a menu dedicated to salt-cured pork sounds a bit heavy, rest assured there are plenty of options available ranging from comforting carbs like bacon-wrapped onion rings and chimichurri-loaded bacon fries to fresh vegetarian entrees. but with meat like corn on the cob, which comes rolled in butter, Parmesan, parsley, and double-smoked streaky bacon.
In the evening, all dishes are ‘share plates’ priced between £4.50 and £9.00, with the larger fare on the breakfast menu, which is not shared, restricted to the early dinner hours . For the adventurous, there are also three dessert options, including possibly the most intriguing item the Jolly Hog brainiacs have invented: ice cream served in a cone of striped bacon.
Embracing the sweet/salty mix, I started with sourdough and an umami-rich sweet butter made with The Jolly Hog black molasses bacon and a vanilla ice cream shake that contained even more molasses bacon, this time shredded and topped with flakes of candied bacon. This turned out to be a winning combination; although the bacon flavor is subtle, it adds a chewy texture to the creamy shake with tasty little bombs of salt.
Next, the blue cheese and bacon hasselbacks were a standout dish. Elegantly sliced and crisp, the potatoes filled with their own earthiness complemented by garlic confit and a generous drizzle of blue cheese sauce. The bacon may not play a major role, but this dish best exemplifies the “elevated” versatility that the popup seeks.
By comparison, the mozzarella and bacon bonbons were a bit disappointing. The texture is sticky to perfection, but with the exception of a smear of piquillo pepper hot sauce, it’s an easy bite.
There is no shortage of flavor in the al dente bacon wrapped broccoli with spicy gochujang sauce. Also in the wrapped camp are the ‘umami bacon rolls’ with enoki mushrooms, wrapped in double smoked striped bacon, marinated in sesame sauce and yakitori. The flavor was less intense than the name suggests, with the delicate flavor of the mushrooms slightly outweighed by its pork jacket.
Although the portions at Jolly Hog are as plentiful as ever, I urge you to save room for dessert. Chef Vic’s Homemade Cheesecake with Candied Pecans and Double Smoked Striped Bacon is smooth and creamy with a comforting biscuit flavor, the bacon acting as a traditional salted caramel topping.
The alternative offering, a vanilla honeycomb ice cream, served in a cone made of smoked steak bacon and topped with a bacon candied fascinator, is a visual spectacle and embodies the Willy Wonka aspect of the menu. The ice cream and conical bacon are nice enough, but at £9.00, it’s quite an expensive novelty.
Jolly Hog’s ode to all things bacon is a fun food adventure with intriguing combinations and plenty of creative flair. He may not always manage to elevate the humble slice, but with bacon this good, that doesn’t matter.