Pigging Delicious Breakfast at the Rusty Pig, Ottery St Mary
One of my favourite things about weekends is going out for Saturday morning breakfast. Some of these turn up on my Instagram feed, but this week’s was so special I thought it deserves a whole blog post to itself. Let me introduce you to The Rusty Pig:
The Rusty Pig, in the small East Devon town of Ottery St Mary, is a family-run business, specialising in ‘all things pig’. Vegetarians, if you haven’t already, look away now …
The downstairs of the Rusty Pig is an open-plan kitchen space, with a large dining table and view of the kitchen, where the chefs are busy cooking breakfasts, curing meats, churning butter and preparing pates and terrines.
The decor is eclectic and colourful, with vintage homewares and home-made jams for sale on the wall shelves.
We both ‘went the whole hog’ (groan, sorry!) and opted for the full ‘pig out’ breakfast of egg, bacon, sausage, blood cake, hog’s pudding, herby potatoes, badger beans and sourdough toast. The chef also brought us over a little pot of hollandaise ‘because you need more fat’.
What can I say, apart from in the history of my breakfast eating, this was the best breakfast I’ve ever eaten. Half way through I was already dreaming of moving to live in Ottery so I could easily come for breakfast at least once a week.
The breakfast was served in a skillet with the badger beans in a small pot on the side, topped with the sourdough toast. This ‘pig out’ breakfast was £8, with coffee at £2 a pop – an absolute bargain for a meal of this size and quality of produce. Here’s what The Rusty Pig has to say:
we are passionate about pigs and source all our pork from our own smallholding and other local farms close by that share our passion for ethical farming methods. all our pigs enjoy a natural diet and have the freedom to roam the beautiful devon countryside.
And the proof was in the pudding – this bacon tasted goooood. And very delicious sourdough too.
There is also an upstairs, which can be booked by groups or parties, or just if you don’t want to sit downstairs. I loved all the vintage mirrors on the walls, and the quirkiness of the decor, but was glad we sat downstairs to see the chefs working their magic.
For info, The Rusty Pig is only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 9.30am to 4.30pm. But there is also another tantalising offer on their website:
if you’re after a more intimate experience, our chef is happy to come and cook for you in your own home and we can create a menu to meet your specific requirements.
That would be amazing!
I’ve raved on enough now, but just to say if you are anywhere near East Devon at all, this is a breakfast not to be missed!
Afterwards we walked it off (a bit!) with a stroll around Ottery, a sweet little town steeped in history. It is the birthplace of the Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who used to
‘lie by the wall [of St Mary’s churchyard] and mope, and my spirits used to come upon me sudden and in a flood; and I then was accustomed to run up and down the churchyard and act over again all I had been reading’
We also saw the legacy of the industrial revolution, in the form of the curious circular tumbling weir, constructed towards the end of the eighteenth century to maintain leat water at the correct levels to operate the first water-powered factory.
Ottery is perhaps most famous for the folk tradition of the Tar Barrels, an annual event dating from the 17th century, when barrels soaked in tar are set on fire and carried flaming through parts of the town by residents. I’ve never witnessed this, but by all accounts it is very scary, and potentially dangerous, to be part of the watching crowd, so I think I will continue to give it a miss.
But I will definitely go back again for another Rusty Pig breakfast!