Orlando, the theme park capital of the world and all the food establishments near the centre of the theme park universe are all large chains serving mass produced soulless food. Well a simple car rental and a lazy drive through the city away from the khaki shorts, white socks and trainers led me to The Ravenous Pig, a small fabulous gastropub in Northern Orlando.
I sat outside soaking in the glorious Florida sunset sipping on a local craft beer from the rotating taps perusing the menu. A simple menu showcasing local Florida ingredients and produce. To start with I simply had to have the Shrimp and Grits despite the waitress’ warning that it is a BIG portion and that I may not have enough room after for an entree. Well, sleeves rolled up….bring it on!
Sweet, succulent juicy Cape Canaveral shrimp served on a healthy portion of creamy, perfectly cooked grits with a gentle bite, topped with a delicate green tomato chutney and all drizzled with a subtle chorizo oil. Success! What an amazing dish. Perfectly balanced and portioned, beautifully presented (for shrimp and grits) and extremely satisfying. While I was licking the bowl, the waitress came back laughing and asked about an entree – she was right, it was a meal in itself.
Well, one does not come to The Ravenous Pig if one doesn’t plan to be ravenous. So, I indulged my gluttony and asked what the house special was – The Pork Porterhouse. “Are you sure?” she asked. “Yup. Bring it on!”. Well after another IPA chased the grits down, the pork arrived and it was huge – a beautiful piece of meat. Perfectly browned and glazed. Cutting into it revealed a medium done meat dripping in juice. The whiskey glaze gave the pork a delicate sweetness and a composed smokiness. Another excellently executed dish served with fingerling potatoes, brocollini and an excellent choucroute. If I have any criticism, its that I would have liked a little more brocollini and less potato – probably to make me feel less guilty!
“Any room for dessert?” she asks. “Are you kidding me?” my satisfied reply. I simply could not – as much as I wanted to I simply could not.
The Ravenous Pig is a unique restaurant that is far from the well trodden tourist-trap path in Orlando. It is definitely worth a visit when you are looking for excellent comfort food done in a way that leaves you begging for more – if you have space!
The Ravenous Pig
1234 N. Orange Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
+1 407 628 2333