the purple pig

8:52 AM Sian Mei Yeoh 1 Comments

"legend has it that if a pig drinks red wine, it will turn purple"

bon appétit's the restaurant issue recently named the purple pig as one of the top ten best new restaurants. the magazine explains the origins of this mediterranean - inspired restaurant's rather interesting and odd name: "the owners must have known they were going to sell a lot of pork and wine. legend has it that if a pig drinks red wine, it will turn purple." hence, the purple pig was born.

a friend of mine who also loves food recommended this place to me several weeks ago but it didn't really have a chance to go until very recently. i was super excited to go and couldn't wait for my first visit to this place. the time was a monday afternoon just minutes after they opened at 11:30am.

located at magnificient mile (at the intersection of north michigan and illinois ave), the purple pig has a very inviting and cozy atmosphere. it is tastefully decorated with the warm hue of beige and yellow, accented by wooden cabinets and floors adorned with blue patterned tiles and black&white photos on the wall. and of course the occasional pig statues you can find around the restaurant. communal tables filled the restaurant but there are some non communal ones that line the wall to the right as you enter the place.

there are also outdoor seating available where you can enjoy some of chicago's skyline.

we've had a pretty good idea of what we were going to get since we've done some research on yelp. similar to tapas restaurants, the whole idea is to share the small plates with your dining companion(s) hence more variety. our server was friendly and she suggested that we ordered two plates per person. there were some of the dishes that we wanted that weren't available but  purple pig has quite the selection of food to choose from. ryan also wanted a glass of red wine to go with the meal but didn't really know what to get so he asked our server a recommendation for a glass of full bodied red wine without the expensive price tag. and she managed to do a great job finding one.

we ordered two dishes from the fried items, one from antipasti and another from a la pancha category.

fried item | chorizo stuffed olives

crispy breadcrumbs encase warm green olives stuffed with a small amount of chorizo. ryan and i had somewhat different opinions about this dish. perhaps it's the way we ate it. i halved the olives and take a bite which allowed me to taste the brininess from the olives enhanced by the saltiness of the chorizo. this is  followed by the crispiness of the outer layer which came as a pleasant surprise coupled with the creaminess of the mayo (not sure what is in that) which cut the saltiness a tad.

A sharp hit of salt which was all ryan could taste whenever he pops a whole one in his mouth. but overall i guess it might have been a tad too salty for both of us (which i anticipated) but it was indeed an interesting combination.

fried item | pig's ear with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers & fried egg

the one thing i was nervous about trying - pig's ear. i wasn't sure if i had pig's ear before but one thing i knew was ryan was quite nervous about trying too. when the plate came, i almost squealed with delight. it's a piggy bowllll - so cute! :) the triple fried threat - fried pig's ear, the sunny side up and crispy kale make this dish look so good. each of the strip of pig's ear was fried to crispy perfection without it being too oily and i loved it with the crispy kale with small amounts of the sliced pickled cherry peppers.

the sunny side up egg offered the textural difference that dish needed with some of the richness of the yolk. i have to admit that we could do a lot less of the pickled peppers. i am quite unsure what i think of this dish just because i haven't really had much of pig's ears to compare it with. i thought the fried strips of pig's ears could be anything though because it didn't have much of a distinct tastes of its own imo. but i did enjoy the combined flavors of the dishes.

a la plancha | milk braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes

the pork shoulder was fork tender (literally) and so moist - cooked to perfection. one of our favorites. it sits on a bed of creamy and yummy mashed potatoes. the meat itself is flavorful and seasoned just right so each bite with or without the gravy still tasted divine. but it is the best when we have each element of in a single bite - the pork & the mashed potates coated with the gravy.

antipasti | salt-roasted beets with whipped goat cheese & pistachio vinaigrette

i was definitely saving the best for last. this was the biggest highlight of our lunch.  what i loved about it was the natural sweetness of the beets is kissed by the creaminess, tartness and slight saltiness of the whipped goat cheese and paired with the nuttiness and earthiness of the pistachio. an amazing flavor combination. on top of that, the textural difference of each ingredient entices your taste buds that make you want more with each bite you take. definitely a HUGE favorite of ours. to be honest, i would just go back to the purple pig just for this single dish. very much recommended.

we passed on dessert because we were pretty full but i've heard the buttersotch pudding is good. there's just so many more things i want to try here! there were a few people ordering a cheese and cured meats platter which we are very much interested trying sometime soon :) oh and if u wanted to get some bread to go with your small plates, just request your waiter for some.

and for those who would like to try a hand at cooking some of their dishes, the purple pig also feature a recipe of the month on their website on any one of their dishes that they serve and this month is the milk braised pork shoulder. <3

the purple pig lives up to its name : cheese, wine and swine. and they do an awesome job with all three categories. i just can't wait for my return visit.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

The Purple Pig on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

excellent points and the details are more precise than somewhere else, thanks.

- Murk