People who like the taste of pork (in a variety of different and unexpected contexts). People looking for something lighthearted in a lively pub environment. A relatively cheap meal…
It’s Kinda A Pig Deal…
Take a little detour down a series of winding side streets, just off of the hustle and bustle of Ludgate Hill and Farringdon life, and you may find yourself at the Rising Sun Pub, which is where Wiggies lives, at least for the next 6 months.
If you hadn’t guessed it, the theme at Wiggies is pork. Lots of pork. You might at first think that this is perhaps just a gimmick or some marketing shtick. But it isn’t. Oh no. For it is here I had an apple crumble that tasted simultaneously like pork scratchings. And it did this in a very good way (more on that later). This is what I like about Wiggies, they’re not afraid to take a few interesting ‘culinary risks’ – in fact the whole premise of Wiggies is built on it. Every course has pork as an ingredient, and it is used in ways and combinations that you have probably never seen or tasted.
And as far as I can tell, it all works beautifully…
This inventive approach to food comes down to the influences of Head Chef Flora Hileary, who’s been working as a consultant to the Indian food industry. This is, we assume, where she picked up some of the exotic culinary tricks which subtly flavour the food here. Flora actually came over to London especially to set this thing up, and at the launch she got a standing ovation, so I assume people are pleased with the whole thing. Well, I was anyway (and pork is my least favourite meat!)…
Wiggies atmosphere is great for the kind of food they serve too. It’s a kinda jovial pub environment, and since the menu isn’t taking itself all that seriously, the patrons probably don’t have to either. Did I mention that you can buy your seats, and they’re actually retro, ex TFL bus seats? Yup.
At the time it was £40 a head for the Wiggies experience, and there was a takeaway service for some of the courses, that ran between 12-3pm and 6-10pm.
Anyway, I suppose you’d like to get an idea of what kind of crazy pork themed shenanigans were on the menu? Happy to oblige…
Food we tried:
Black pudding cappuccino: Course #1 was what appeared to be an extra foamy cappuccino. But it wasn’t. This was basically like some kind of hearty soup/broth made with delicious pork stock. Very noticeably porcine, I couldn’t really taste any coffee in it.
Ham hock terrine with crackling dusted butternut squash, crispy pigs ear and rhubarb relish: +1 described this as the best butternut squash she’d ever had. And I’d agree with her – sweet and crispy and damn. The pigs ear (which I think is a first for me) was super crispy and chewy, enough to halt conversation entirely as people focused completely on masticating (yes, I’ve wanted to write that sentence for a long time). Basically it was like epic, next level pork scratchings and I quite enjoyed it. The ham hock terrine was soft and yielding. Unsurprisingly, it had a satisfying ham taste.
Seared scallop with hot smoked pork belly and ham hock, asparagus and peas: This was my favourite part. The scallops were rich but subtle drizzled with what I think was olive oil, and you could dip them into the ham hock and pork belly. I wouldn’t have thought that scallops would work with pork, but their mild taste didn’t clash at all. The asparagus (cooked perfectly) also benefited from being dipped into the multifaceted, pork flavoured thing that I’d squashed into the middle of my plate.
Apple and cardamom pork fat crumble galette with mango lassi sauce: This is probably the most memorable item on the menu on the grounds of how bizarrely well the food. Basically it’s an apple crumble, in which the crumble tastes noticeably of pork scratchings. The sweetness of the apple and the mango lassi contrasted really well with the saltiness of the crumble. As I always say, I’m not a huge dessert guy – but words don’t describe this one – you have to try it!
A fun environment and good place to go with a group of friends for joviality; cocktails, a variety of food that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and some good/bad puns. Wiggies is a great idea and we wish them great success!
The Rising Sun, 61 Carter Lane, London, EC4V 5DY