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The Montpellier Public House Part Two

The Montpellier Public House, yes I know I blogged about it last week but that isn’t the end of the story. There were so many dishes that we wanted to try that on our way out we booked a table for the following week. This time the aim was to eat mains and desserts.

One of the main draw cards for the return trip was the pigs head. I have never eaten a whole pigs head before and the idea of it really appealed to me (something to do with my pork crackling obsession I think). Thankfully we mentioned this to the waitress as we were pondering the menu and she informed us that they only have two pigs heads each night so she would secure the order while we were deciding on the rest of the order. This is a tip worth noting if you are also keen on pigs head as there is a high probability that the pigs head will sell out.

Our second visit was a Friday night. I’m pretty sure the restaurant was full, so another note worthy tip is to book ahead if you want to eat in the restaurant. Failing that of course there is the bar area downstairs that is serving an equally tempting but slightly different menu to upstairs. Same style of cooking but different options like pork pie, pigeon scotched eggs  or veal cheek. (I can feel a third trip coming on).

The only downside to dining on the Friday was the waiting time to order. The staff were run off their feet which meant after securing our pigs head there was a rather long wait to place the rest of our order. I was hungry. I don’t like to wait. I won’t go back on a Friday night.

So when it came to ordering we ummed and aahed over the menu and once again were seduced by the entrees. We figured as there were three people this time we could probably share two entrees, one main and save some room for dessert. So we plumped for the Montpellier brawn with crisp ears and tails ($18) and the salad of spanner crab, mussel, cos, fennel and dill ($20).

The brawn was more of a terrine than what I know as brawn. I always thought brawn was meat from the pigs head and/or trotters suspended in gelatinous pork jelly. There was no visible jelly, instead it was layers of meltingly tender meat and vegetables.  A delicious dish, which should perhaps be renamed. The ears and tails were better than expected. I thought they might be gelatinous, but they actually had the taste and texture of meat, and who can resist anything that is breaded and fried?

I couldn’t eat the second entrée as I have an allergy to mussels but I was informed it was a lighter alternative to all of the other dishes we have tried. A generous serve of crab, with large juicy mussels (no shells for those that don’t like getting messy) and apparently the dill made the dish.

And then came the centre piece, the pigs head ($48). This may be a little daunting for some but don’t be put off. There was plenty of meat and crispy crackling.  The pigs head is brined before it is cooked, making another dish with super tender meat. So often I go to restaurants and I am disappointed with the roasts, but there is nothing to disappoint here.  There was plenty of crispy crackling, although despite looks, not all of the crackling was edible.  The roasts are served whole so that they can be carved at the table which adds a real sense of occasion.

Served with the pigs had is bubble and squeak, a mixture of mashed potato, cabbage, and carrots. I’m always a sucker for roast potatoes, so if I’d been cooking this at home I would serve with roasties, but I actually enjoyed the mash for a change and it helped to cut through the rich pork meat.

And there we have it, the three of us overindulged on pork, and again were too full for dessert. I hate to say it it, but it’s not over yet…

Until next time, I thought I’d share my brawn recipe

2 pigs trotters
500g pork bones (I used the ribs from my last pork belly)
2 carrots chopped
1 onion roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tsp black peppercorns

Put all the ingredients in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 4 hours, remove the meat and veg and boil the stock until it is reduced to about 500ml. Once the trotters and ribs are cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones.  Season the stock to taste, layer the meat in a terrine dish then pour over the stock and refrigerate until set. Serve with toast.


Comment from Vivian – vxdollface
Time October 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm

bit apprehensive on the pigs head, never been able to bring myself to eat an animals head! sounds like a very British fare

Comment from sam
Time October 13, 2011 at 5:45 am

As always an interesting and entertaining read. But….. perhaps a bit much “animal” for this hour of the morning, heads, tails, ears, trotters, jelly eeewwww. Lucky I had breakie a while ago!

Comment from Gaby
Time October 13, 2011 at 7:03 am

Haven’t tried pig’s head yet but it’s in my wishlist. I just have to find myself a dining companion that doesn’t find it gross.

Comment from Tina@foodboozeshoes
Time October 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

Oooh, I was a bit afraid of trying the brawn (let alone the pig’s head) but it sounds really good! Can’t wait for the next (hopefully sweet) instalment! :)

Comment from Miss Piggy
Time October 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Wow – you’ve been twice already…must be good. I’m trying to be more adventerous with my food, but I think a pig’s head is too “out there” for me…I’d just not be able to hack into his smiling face. Yorky Puds on the other hand….

Comment from nic
Time October 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for all the comments, the pig’s head really isn’t that bad! It’s just meat! And the tails and ears could be mistaken for schnitzel.

Miss Piggy – I really did go twice in a week, I think I was having a weak, patriotic moment after getting my Aussie citizenship! But even when I’m over that I’ll be going back to sample the bar menu.

Tina, I’ve just read your review, but couldn’t leave a comment, the black pudding and duck egg was my next entrée choice, and I’m impressed you made it to dessert!

Comment from Hotly Spiced
Time October 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

I have never been presented with a pigs head before nor have I ever cooked one but I remember there was a guy in Series 1 of Master Chef who cooked half a pig’s head and what he did with it really intrigued me. He certainly impressed the judges as well.

Comment from Colin
Time October 18, 2011 at 9:03 pm

And dont forget folks,if you leave the eyes in,it will see you through the week…….

Comment from evviep
Time January 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

Thanks for the review. A friend and I are booked in for tomorrow night and the brawn and pig’s head dishes are exactly the ones we’ve been looking at! (Not that I’ve been poring over the online menu…..).
Oh, and thanks for your brawn recipe too. I’ve been wondering how to prepare the trotters I have in the freezer – and this will use up the ribs from the Christmas pork belly too. :)

Comment from nic
Time January 11, 2012 at 7:30 am

Thanks for stopping by Evviep. You will love the Montpellier! And I hope you enjoy cooking up your pigs trotters!

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