Sunday, March 3, 2013

Delicious + Approachable French Cuisine in Hyde Park: Piquant Epicure & Cuisine

Piquant Epicure & Cuisine is standing proof that if you serve exquisite food, made from high quality and artfully manipulated ingredients, the hungry patrons will come. The light, airy dining room is buzzing with life when I arrive Sunday for their brunch service. Baristas busy themselves making cappuccinos, pastry chefs replenish the pastry case with decadent treats, and the servers file out of the kitchen to greet customers and present them with delicious French cuisine. 
The menu and the pricing are accessible, giving the restaurant a diverse following, from children munching on croissants and drawing in coloring books to a table of discerning foodies, perusing the menu over coffee. The foodies? That’s me, and my friends Kerry of Snark & Pepper and Jennifer of Mangiamo!. Chef Rosana Rivera & Ricardo Castro could not be happier to welcome us, a great feeling for food addicts, who happen to take several photographs of our food before eating it, despite the annoyance of our dates, and surrounding parties (did you know some restaurants have actually banned the practice). One day when you’re showing your grandchildren pictures from your high school prom, we’ll be showing them the fabulous passion fruit tart we had at Piquant.

Piquant has been open for a little over 5 weeks, and these two Chefs are already near and dear to many foodie hearts. Their concept is truly representative of their giving mentality. They open their kitchen to newly graduated chefs, fostering their culinary growth and giving them much needed experience. In this way, they harness the fresh passion of a new generation of chefs, and the results could not be more pleasing. The food is unique, approachable and served in a chic, laid-back environment. The atmosphere is just as beautiful as the food… however, a translucent chair is nowhere near as tasty.

I first stumbled upon this gem during Dish Crawl Hyde Park, and have since been craving their decadent pastries. I am not surprised that their menu items have created a whole new craving altogether. Currently open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch on Sunday, they have covered all of their bases, with mouthwatering sandwiches, omelets, salads, flatbreads, and pastry. With all these yummy choices, my friends and I descended on Piquant this morning with a level of excitement comparable to a toddler on Christmas morning. Our decadent meal, punctuated by the descriptions and gratitude from the beautiful Chef Rosana, included:

Banana Bread French Toast: Beautiful, moist slices of banana bread, battered and pan-fried, leaving a light crust on the outside. Joined by a dollop of fresh, whipped cream, a few slices of banana, and a generous pour of maple syrup, it is the perfect dish for brunchers with a sweet tooth.

Goat Cheese and Chorizo Omelet: Creamy goat cheese, chorizo, cilantro, and caramelized shallots folded delicately between layers of fluffy eggs. A sophisticated take on a classic; so delicious!

Braised Short Ribs Special: Tender short ribs, layered between fresh-baked slices of baguette and poached eggs, accented with a red wine demi-glace, flavorful chipotle hollandaise, and crispy onions. Decadent, melt-in-your-mouth goodness; clearly, Piquant knows what makes a ‘special’ special.

Root Chips: Thin taro, plantain, Caribbean sweet potato, and yucca sliced carefully on a mandolin to make pleasantly crunchy and light chips.

Purple Potatoes: Purple potatoes, cooked to a light crispness, provide a stunning and flavorful alternative to your normal potato side. Yet another elevated classic at Piquant.

After our meals, we were all stuffed, but we couldn’t leave without another taste of those pastries that won our hearts at Dish Crawl:

Passion Fruit Tart: A layer of passion fruit curd and shiny, sweet meringue in a crisp tart. Beautiful and ridiculously tasty.

Almond Croissant: A croissant filled with marzipan and topped with slivered almonds and honey. A classic done right.

You see the trend here: beautiful, decadent, approachable, delicious, welcoming, elevated.  If Piquant wasn’t on your restaurant bucket list, I am confident that it will be joining your list soon. Altogether, we spent about $25, a steal for quality and quantity of food we devoured. It’s a true pleasure, not only for the magic their food performs on your palate, but also for the passion of the owners, and their dedication to fostering the growth of our local food community. I am looking forward to my next visit, and so should you!

Piquant on Urbanspoon


  1. This place looks so cute! (and I love poutine!!) Wish I'd known about it when I was in Tampa this summer ;-)

    1. They have only been open for five weeks now, so don't feel like it was an opportunity missed! Next time you are in town, stop in! I'm sure they'll still be around, especially if I have anything to do with it! Ha!

  2. What a lovely review of Piquant! So happy you are enjoying the space. Their food is delicious and you can taste their energy in every bite!

    1. I am loving the space; the ambiance is perfection and the design is beautiful, chic, and laid-back. So open and inviting, without sacrificing style! You did a wonderful job on Piquant!

  3. I SO need to go here! Wish I could've gone with you lovely ladies. That Short-rib special...WOW and the chorizo omelet..yes please!!!!! Great post (per usual).

    1. Thank, Leslie! Looks liek we'll all just have to go again... I'm not mad about it!