I’m back in the home country – the You Ess of Ay.
What better to do in the US, but eat.
Tucked into an up-and-coming neighbourhood bordering Washington DC, the Green Pig Bistro sits cosily in a shop lined street in Arlington, Virginia.
Traipsing towards the doors through air so thick, it could be cut with a knife; we pushed into the restaurant, escaping the sweltering heat. My first impression of the quaint, quirky interior was further enhanced by the cool air that swept over us.
Walls lined with recipe pages, rustic wooden boards and earthy fabrics decorated a small bar and seating area.
This size of the front room is surprisingly misleading. But, a trip around the corner, down the hall of recipe book filled glass fridges opens up into a cozy dining room with windows looking onto the road and an open plan kitchen bustling in the background.
Chilled water bottles on the table were a pleasant touch considering the sauna from which we had emerged.
The Green Pig Bistro sells a variety of house sodas with interesting flavours such as cinnamon cream soda, hibiscus-lemon fizz and blueberry-lemonade. They also serve Blenheim Ginger Ale, which has been bottled in South Carolina since 1903.
After a sip of the sweet drink, a gentle heat tingled down the back of my throat from the Ginger Ale’s flavouring of Jamaican ginger. I’d definitely recommend trying this or one of the flavoured house sodas to awaken your taste buds before your feast.
After browsing the menu, we decided to create a tapas experience as all of the appetisers and side dishes appealed to us.
The bibb lettuce salad with candied walnut, grapes and chunks of blue cheese was smothered in a creamy buttermilk dressing. Bites of chives and radish cut the creamy dressing, preventing it from being overwhelming when paired with the blue cheese. This salad was far from a light kickoff to the decadent meal ahead.
The pig tacos arrived loaded with avocado, salsa verde and purple cabbage. The meat was tender and had been cooked carnitas style with plenty of flavour. The spice from the salsa verde and added acidity from the lime made the perfect flavour combination.
Food porn alert.The side of Mac & Cheese arrived with a lightly breaded crust.
Upon dipping a spoon into the cheesy mixture, I expected strings of melted cheese pulling the shapes of pasta hesitantly away from the dish. Instead, each bite of pasta was wrapped in silky, creamy cheese sauce with sneaking hints of chive chasing the smokey flavour of Gouda.
A skillet filled with what looked like yellow cake topped with a scoop of ice cream turned out to be a rich cornbread with melting maple butter. To my surprise, this wasn’t too dense and was a sweet accompaniment to the meal.
Buffalo ribs came coated in buffalo sauce with wispy shavings of celery and a sprinkling of chives. The sauce was a delicious combination of spice and tang, but meat was fatty and overall this was far from my favourite dish.
Speaking of favourite dishes, the duck & rabbit paté topped with caramelised onion jelly was, dare I say, perfect. The creamy, gamey flavour of the paté melted together with the sweet tang of the onion jelly, all spread onto the perfect bite of toast with a crunchy crust and soft middle.
This is a dish I’ll be comparing every future bite of paté to, and I’ll doubt any shall surpass the flavour achieved here.
As if we hadn’t eaten enough, true to the restaurant’s name, we ordered dessert like true piggies.
The doughnut, chocolate and peanut butter ice cream arrived as a tower of gluttony with chocolate sauce poured from high above the table. The doughnut was more of a brioche, sandwiching the delicious ice cream with crunches of caramelised peanuts.
Expecting a decent sized slab of citrus flavoured pie, the skillet filled with a full-sized key lime pie that arrived made me groan with a fullness I hadn’t previously acknowledged.
But of course, I had to try a bite.
The texture was creamier than any key lime pie I’ve tasted and had a delicious graham cracker base. The flavour of the pie, however, lacked a strong citrus presence that would have been the perfect palate cleanser to end the night.
The Green Pig Bistro combines classic dishes with original, skilled cooking techniques. The restaurant’s charming, quirky interior is perfect for any occasion and the food will leave you wanting to come back for more.