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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

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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. www.pigandwhistlechelmsford.uk

Side Orders

Three more restaurants offering a super Sunday roast

Wivenhoe House Hotel

Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ. 01206 863666. www.wivenhoehouse.co.uk

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. www.roslinhotel.com

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. www.kingsheadongar.co.uk

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

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