The Purple Pig

Finally, finally, I got to try the food at The Purple Pig. After hearing so many rave reviews from so many different people, I figured it was high time I tried it myself, and two out-of-state visiting friends gave me the perfect excuse to go.

We decided to play it smart, and went right when they opened at 11:30am. The interior was all a rustic wooden colour, kind of like being lined with planks of wood taken from wine barrels, adding to the European atmosphere. The main tables were also bar-style with really tall chairs that were a little scary because every time I tried to get off it felt like I was jumping from a considerable height (I’m an average Asian height…so not very tall). I wish we were seated at a booth, but oh well.

The server was really nice; gave us some time to peruse the menus, although I’d already Yelped the place and decided what we definitely wanted to try. We ordered the milk braised pork shoulder, the roasted bone marrow spread, the JLT sandwich with fried egg, and a panino con nutella for dessert. The food took a little time to reach our table, but we were too absorbed in chatting to mind. Ha!

So first was the pork shoulder – it was really tender and moist, and very flavourful. The meat practically fell apart in my mouth, and I couldn’t help but scrape every last bit off my plate with my fork. It was served on top of mashed potatoes, which were very ordinary; perhaps even too runny in my opinion. I like my mashed potatoes to actually have some body to them so that I know for sure that they’re made from real potatoes. But as it was the accompaniment and not the main part of the dish, it didn’t affect my opinion of the pork.

The bone marrow spread was surprisingly underwhelming, only because I’ve heard so much praise for it that I may have expected a lot more. Or maybe I didn’t eat it the right way…maybe that was it. For my first slice I used too little bone marrow and forgot to add the capers on top of my slice of bread, so it didn’t taste as special as I thought it would. But the flavour was still there, and the marrow was really smooth, so it was still good. Not as good as the pork shoulder, though!

The JLT (jowl lettuce tomato) sandwich was actually my favourite dish out of the four – it was an almost perfect blend of moisture (sunny-side up egg), texture (crisp bread with crunchy lettuce), and flavour (jowl and lemon sauce). Mmm…I didn’t care that it was falling apart all over the place since we had to share; it tasted too good to not have seconds!

We polished off our meal and ordered the panino con nutella for dessert, which is a sandwich with nutella, marshmallow cream, and banana slices. For some reason, it took a really long time to arrive at the table – I mean, it’s not like it’s that hard to make, right? But perhaps it was due to the sudden influx of customers. Whatever the case, we ate it. It was really good, but not something as special as the JLT or bone marrow spread. Perhaps I’ll try making it myself at home.

We were actually full after four dishes, even though our server had said everything was in tapas portions. I guess all that protein really filled us up! So we did spend a little less than normal (approx. $15 per person), which was a nice bonus. But I’ll definitely be back, even though I was drinking water like crazy because everything was a little too salty for my taste. Perhaps I was supposed to dilute it with some wine. Oops. Anyway, feel free to go, because despite all of Purple Pig’s shortcomings, you definitely wouldn’t regret coming here! Just make sure you avoid the huge crowd that comes in during the normal lunchtime and dinner hours, and only come if you’re looking for a casual restaurant experience. It gets noisy in there, especially with all the music and people vying for attention.

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