We've known Johnnie for almost two years now and there's never a dull moment, he's always original, and, probably best for the world at large, very much a one off. There's ups and downs where ever he is, including his recent appearance (and disappearance) on Great British Menu, but there's also been a new cookbook, Pig: cooking with a passion for pork, and participation in an extensive TV broadcast in the US, Chef Race.
But time in front of the camera meant time away from the restaurant and the new venture struggled with identity, featuring stints as both a fine dining restaurant and a stab at traditional/molecular fusion, but it never found its footing and the project was almost abandoned less than a year after opening. But with all the filming done, Johnnie Mountain has now returned, and despite his clear love of being in front of the camera, one senses that behind the pass is actually where he's happiest.
His come back has also heralded the return of food more typical of JM, for he is who he is, and 'posh' doesn't really suit the style of a chef who lists 'Mountain's mushy peas' as the side with fish and chips, while 'stonkingly good' mackerel is how old fashioned mackerel is listed on the menu. So it's back to 'good old fare' at the new Pig with mains that include ham, egg and chips, ribeye steak, chilli cheeseburger and lamb shank. There is in fact 14 choices of main course listed on the menu with additional daily specials.
The latest surprise though is that Johnnie has got excited about fish, having a new fishmonger supplying fresh Cornish fish daily. The result is that on my mini tasting menu of the restaurant, it was mackerel, squid, lobster risotto and fish 'n' chips that formed the core of the menu. Pork is still present on the menu (as you would hope), but it is not, as the old Pig was in its latter days, a pork restaurant. Maybe it will be reborn again as The English Fish.
Either way, the new Pig is rather similar to the old Pig with the experimentation gone, Johnnie back (for now at least) and an extensive menu of comfort style food where there's something for everybody.