The Spotted Pig – New York

The world’s teeniest bar in what looks like a flower shop?

Being an information geek and a food blogger it should come as no surprise that I’d prepared a list of potential bars and restaurants for us to visit during our trip to NYC this week.

On The Spotted Pig I was undecided: it’s a Michelin-starred ‘gastro pub’, reputedly British in style, and apparently – if top search engine results are to be believed – where certain celebrities hang out (and where numpty celebrity-stalkers go to try and see numpty celebrities. All this numpty celebrity stuff put me off. Mr West, Ms Swift… bah! who cares? really?).

To be honest, the dinner menu didn’t look all that appealing either (I mean – “pigs ear salad” ew?). We’d pretty much written it off.

 

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Pussy willows, flowers and pig decorations outside The Spotted Pig
 

As it turned out, we had a lovely walk this morning from the Financial District through Tribeca on our way to the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking district (popping in to the Tribeca Tap House for a late breakfast, and a tiny, street-fronted Irish bar the-size-of-a-living-room for further refreshment on the way).

So we happened to be passing The Spotted Pig anyway, and it looks so appealing and small and befitting its local community with all the pussy-willows (I’m a sucker for furry catkins and had them in my wedding bouquet) and plants and pig decorations outside (a bit like your local flower shop) that we just had to step inside to check it out.

 

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One of the teeniest bars you’ve ever seen?

 

Ours was a Friday afternoon visit so perhaps not as busy as it might get in here.

There were plenty of available stools at the tiny bar (to the left side of the picture above) so we sat down for a drink, trying a local Brooklyn craft beer and gin or two.

This might’ve been one of the smallest bar service areas I’ve ever seen but on the plus side, we didn’t have to shout or wait to order a drink and it was served immediately. Hooray for intimacy and immediacy.

Enjoying the friendly bar service and banter going on around us, as well as the appealing pig-themed interior with funky food fabric stools (bacon patterns, pepper prints, etc) – not to mention our ‘taste testing’ of local-ish Brooklyn gins – we decided to have a late lunch at the bar after all…

 
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Battered bar, bacon and pepper patterned stools, pigs
 

We both homed in on the chargrilled burger with roquefort cheese and shoestring fries @ $25.00. The beef patty itself was good and the roquefort gave it a strong blue cheese flavour but overall, the assembled burger was plain, distinctly average and wasn’t carefully crafted in any way (it lacked imagination) – it was simply a beef patty with roquefort in a brioche bun.

While the shoestring fries with rosemary looked attractive, quantity had been prioritised over quality – it was a massive mound of greasy fries (and they were very oily) with some rosemary needles thrown in.

 
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Nice enough burger but a bit plain with greasy fries
 

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Good patty – pink patty

 

This was a straight-forward enough afternoon visit and we had a good time – enjoying the intimate bar service.

We were glad to have made this a lunchtime visit rather than a more special evening meal out, and it was close enough to the Whitney Museum so it was on our route. But I really don’t understand yet why this place has got a Michelin star….

 

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Potato, potato, potato…

 

The verdict: Quaint enough bar if you’re passing, but not somewhere to rush to.

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: Burgers, gastro-pub, British? (in New York)
~ Address: 314 West 11th Street, New York
~ Zipcode: NY10014
~ Website + menus: The Spotted Pig website
~ Photos on flickr: images of The Spotted Pig
~ Location: The Spotted Pig map

 
The Spotted Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Raymi Peruvian Restaurant + Pisco Bar – New York

Lively Peruvian restaurant + bitter-tastic pisco cocktails

Having stumbled across a Peruvian jazz club on our last trip to New York (which has sadly since closed down) K was keen to re-live another Peruvian-themed evening during our visit to NYC this week so we booked a table in advance at Raymi in the Flatiron district, to try Peruvian food and cocktails. A brand new experience for us.

On being promptly greeted and seated, K ordered a passion pisco (overly sweet for me, containing passion syrup) @ $14.00 while I had a classic pisco sour @ $13.00 (made from pisco sour, lime, egg white and bitters) – lovely and bitter – while reading the food menu.

 

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Passion pisco, roasted corn kernels and pisco sour

 

Service was excellent right from the start, with our friendly, helpful waitress answering our questions about the menu and making recommendations for us. We wanted to share dishes and eventually chose charred octopus @ $18.00 from the Chef’s Corner menu (specials available Thursday to Sunday only), a mixto cerviche @ $16.00 from the Cerviches & Tiraditos selection, a ‘jalea’ fried mixed seafood @ $14.00 (a small plate) and an arroz chaufa @ $26.00 (a large plate).

Our waitress recommended that the charred octopus and mixto cerviche be served together (as a starter course) and the jalea and arroz chaufa together afterwards. So that’s what we did. And those food pairings worked well.

 

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Mixto ceviche – aji rocoto (red peppers), corvina fish, shrimp, squid, octopus + sweet potato
 

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Charred octopus – with butternut squash, potatoes, mussels
 

The charred octopus was lovely and tender with a smoky flavour (gorgeous) and the fishy ceviche was nice and sharp in contrast.

With a busy bar area and buzzing atmosphere, along with interesting eclectic furnishings and soft lighting, this was a really comfortable restaurant to dine in and relax.

 
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Inside Raymi
 

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Pisco bar at Raymi
 

I was already fairly full after sharing the starter plates and was glad to have a break before the next course arrived!

The arroz chaufa arrived in a large stone pot containing a mix of jasmine rice, egg, broccoli, ginger, char siu chicken, shrimp, chinese sausage, scallions and peanuts (unusual, with the predominant flavours being of Chinese style spices) while the jalea fried shrimp, squid, corvina fish, yuca, salsa criolla, and aji amarillo (peppers) was served with a tartar sauce (again, really good but I was sadly too full to eat much of this course).

 

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Arroz chaufa – jasmine rice, egg, broccoli, ginger, char siu chicken, shrimp, chinese sausage, etc

 

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Jalea – fried seafood with tartar sauce
 

 

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Basement bathroom area – a relaxing feel with plants and a water feature

 

The verdict: Impressive food and drinks selection, outstanding service. I would love to return (with a bigger appetite). Check the website for Latino music and dancing nights.

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: Peruvian (in New York)
~ Address: 43 West 24th Street, New York
~ Zipcode: NY10010
~ Website + menus: Raymi website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Raymi
~ Location: Raymi map

 
Raymi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato