CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today CLICK HERE

Review: The Pig and Whistle, Chignal Smealy

PUBLISHED: 11:33 13 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:02 13 June 2016

Exteriors at The Pig and Whistle

Exteriors at The Pig and Whistle


Stephanie Mackentyre reviews the Pig and Whistle in Chignal Smealy and shares her take on this lovely country pub

Table talkers Christina Evans, her husband Jon and their two daughters, Amelie and LiliaTable talkers Christina Evans, her husband Jon and their two daughters, Amelie and Lilia

Spending Sunday with those you love can be a very special time indeed. With that in mind, this month, I went searching for a spectacular Sunday roast. We were glad we booked as it appeared we took the last remaining table at the Pig and Whistle at Chignal Smealy, where they have two sittings on a Sunday, 12.30pm and 3.30pm, such is its popularity.

From outside, the Pig and Whistle could be mistaken for a traditional country pub set in a rural idyll. However, the clue to the interior is on the blackboard just by the door – requesting a smart casual dress code for all customers. Its interior I’m sure would meet with Kirsty Allsopps’ approval. It’s all very tastefully decorated throughout and creates a warm and adorable ambiance.

There were five starters to choose from on a Sunday, from oak smoked salmon to whitebait, and then a four meat carvery with a choice of eight different vegetables.

We arrived a little early and a large table were currently being served, so our waitress kindly offered to let us know once the carvery area was ready for us. We sat back on softly upholstered chairs, tucked comfortably by the fireplace to take in the surroundings. Wedgewood Blue walls with white painted beams and burning candles in the open fireplaces gave a welcome glow to the three rooms, which were strung with fairy lights and hearts.

Interiors at The Pig and WhistleInteriors at The Pig and Whistle

Our table had its own Tiffany lamp and as we enjoyed our drinks we noted they also offer candlelit suppers from Wednesday to Saturday with an a la carte menu. We skipped starters and headed for the carvery. The beef, pork, turkey and gammon all looked mouth-wateringly good. Normally I’d ask for just two slices, but it was impossible to choose. The vegetables included creamed leeks, mashed swede, cauliflower cheese and roast parsnips, and all were freshly cooked and plentiful. We were all impressed with the service throughout the meal. A jug of extra gravy was offered and when we couldn’t decide on dessert either, the owner offered to make up a sharing platter for us. Four miniature homemade desserts followed, featuring lemon cheesecake, tiramisu, hot chocolate pudding and strawberry meringue with fresh strawberries on the side.

Despite being in the first sitting, we didn’t feel in the least bit rushed and indeed didn’t leave until after 3pm that day. Instead we sat and enjoyed an extremely smooth cup of filter coffee before finally wending our way home again.

Useful to know

The carveryThe carvery

The total bill came to £62.30 for two courses with drinks and coffees. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.

Table Talk

With diners Christina Evans and her husband Jon and their two daughters Amelie and Lilia

Where do you live and what do you do?

I’m a full-time mum and we live in Great Baddow.

What did you choose from the menu?

We started with prawn cocktails and a mozzarella salad. Me and the girls had the carvery and Jon had the lamb shank. Then the girls had crumble for dessert.

Why were you at The Pig and Whistle?

Just through a recommendation from a friend.

Describe your dining experience

A cosy county pub with a twist of elegance inside. It’s a special place to go.

How would you rate the value for money?

Pretty good; it’s what we’d expect to pay.

Worth visiting again?

Yes, I think so.

What was the best part of your visit?

All the yummy carvery vegetables that you could pick for yourself.

Book a table

Pig and Whistle

Woodhall Hill, Chignal Smealy, Chelmsford CM1 4SZ. 01245 443 186.

Side Orders

Three more restaurants offering a super Sunday roast

Wivenhoe House Hotel

Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ. 01206 863666.

We say: This 18th century manor house is part of the University of Essex and offers a three-course Sunday lunch for a set price including wine.

The Roslin Beach Hotel Restaurant

Thorpe Esplanade, Thorpe Bay SS1 3BG. 01702 586375.

We say: This AA Rosette restaurant has views over the Thames Estuary. Choose from the roast or grill menu and there’s a choice of three vegetarian options too.

Kings Head

177 High Street, Chipping Ongar CM5 9JG. 01277 508905.

We say: This 17th century pub has been restored with great care and the team serve a Sunday roast from noon until 9pm.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink


Few things are more deliciously indulgent than an idyllic afternoon tea. Here Essex Life showcases 18 of the best places for tea and cake the county has to offer

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

As an enduring British institution, it’s incredibly important to get your Sunday lunch right. Here are 12 pubs in Essex that know how to deliver precisely what you require.

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Stephanie Mackentyre continues her tour of Essex’s finest eateries and this time drops into the Back-Inn Time American diner in Chelmsford

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Treat yourself to a pint of real ale surrounded by fresh sea air and coastal views at any one of these 12 glorious Essex pubs

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Being home to so many wonderful places to eat choosing where to go for dinner can often be difficult. With that in mind we’ve picked 20 of our favourite places to help you decide

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Stephanie Mackentyre continues her tour of Essex’s best eateries by stopping to eat at Dedham’s Sun Inn with her pooch

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

CyclesUK are a leading independent bike retail chain based in Essex and they have held a public vote to find the cafes that local cyclists love. The results are in and these are 10 of the best cycling cafes in Essex

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Looking for somewhere special to enjoy a festive lunch with family and friends?

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A hearty portion of pie and mash has been an Essex dining staple enjoyed for generations. We pick 15 places to go for a tasty portion of this local favourite

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Essex Life Food & Drink Awards for 2018 took place on September 27th at Down Hall Hotel

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search