Serving up the whole animal: Pigs Head on the menu in a growing number of luxury London restaurants
Food writer Nick Gibbens takes a look at the growing popularity of Pigs Head, which is starting to grace the menus of some of London’s best restaurants. Dubbed “an extension of ‘nose-to-tail’ dining”, this emerging trend is expected to spread throughout the UK over the course of 2016.
The “nose-to-tail” style of eating is no longer the preserve of niche supperclubs as restaurants across London are recognising the importance of reducing waste whilst experimenting with new dishes that continue to innovate and impress.
“Nose-to-tail” eating involves preparing all parts of the animal from its head, to its skin, to its bone marrow, so that nothing is wasted, and also demonstrates diners willingness to be more experimental when they dine.
Restaurants such as Aqua Nueva, Frenchie and Le Bab are offering diners the unusual, but flavoursome dish of Pigs Head on their new menus. Lets take a quick look at how they are serving this unusual part of the animal.
Aqua Nueva, Regent Street
De La Cabeza a la Cola/ From Head to Tail £8
Trotters, head & tail terrine with a butter beans vinaigrette from La Granja Segovia
To honour Spain’s ancient ritual of La Matanza, modern Spanish kitchen aqua nueva has created a pork menu that incorporates delicacies from an entire hog within each dish. The pig has been reworked into six mouthwatering dishes featuring the tongue, the back, cheeks, body, skin, tail and trotters. The final course of The Pig Menu is De La Cabeza a la Cola, an unusual dish which combines the different tastes and textures of this versatile meat. The ‘nose to tail’ style of La Matanza endeavours to waste as little produce from the animal as possible. Whole hog (six dishes) £45.
Le Bab, Soho
Large Babs: Pig’s Head £36
Pig’s head & crackling, black turnip, heritage carrot, onion, molasses sauce, carrot & turnip greens
Launched in January 2016, Le Bab aims to drive a “kebab renaissance” in London, reinvigorating kebabs with provenance, seasonality and technique. A slightly more unusual dish, the seasonal menu is now offering a Rare Breed Pig’s Head as a sharing platter for the table, slow cooked on the exposed firepit grill to ensure a tender smokey flavour.
Frenchie, Covent Garden
Braised Pig Head, Bramley Apple, Sweet Onions, Buckwheat £9
Gregory and Marie Marchand have opened Frenchie in Covent Garden, their first site outside of Paris. The menu at Frenchie Covent Garden echoes its Parisian counterpart, with simple, generous yet precise dishes heavily influenced by Greg’s travels. A highlight on the menu is Greg’s playful take on ‘Pig & Apple’. The dish is comprised of a full pig head that he braises for a few hours. The meat is then cooked using Greg’s trademark housesmoked technique, capturing the flavours of smoked Bramley Apple, pickled mustard seeds, fried shallot and buckwheat.