Yesterday marked the conclusion of our Tampa Bay Brunch tour. The last stop? Piquant in Hyde Park Village. I was truly looking forward to our visit, as I had never dined there previously. However, I had heard nothing but glowing reviews from others. And the fact that cronuts would be involved? Yes and yes.
I have to say: the ambiance in Piquant is absolutely wonderful. The interior is chic yet comfortable. The tables are surrounded by ghost chairs, and the walls are covered in various patterned wallpaper. There is even an outdoor patio for dining, which would be perfect during days like we’ve been having lately!
Anyway – on to the brunch offerings! To get things started: a Bloody Mary. Piquant is about to debut a full bar menu, and we were lucky enough to get a preview of Chef Jordan Hoeffner’s Bloody Mary creation. To start, the vodka was infused with Thai Bird Chiles to add an extra kick. Their mix is made in-house. And to top it all off, the unique garnishes were stellar! First: the edible Bloody Mary – they solidified the Bloody Mary mix using molecular gastronomy techniques. It was set up inside a celery stalk. How cool, right? The other garnishes were also quite awesome – a skewer with a traditional Spanish olive, an in-house smoked and pickled cherry tomato, and a chorizo stuffed peppadew pepper. To be honest: I would have been happy to nibble on a plate filled with the Bloody Mary garnishes…especially the chorizo stuffed pepper! Finally, the drink was rimmed with a balsamic reduction, used to adhere Cajun seasoning and sriracha salt to the glass. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!
Moving on to the food! We sampled an assortment of various dishes off of Piquant’s Weekend Specials menu, which included both small plates and entrees. To start: the Sausis Feuilletes. Think: very fancy hot dog. It was an all beef, natural sausage rolled in puff pastry. It was served alongside red wine ketchup and chardonnay mustard. Yum!
The bouillabaisse was a second small plate we sampled. The presentation was top notch – it was almost too pretty to dip a spoon into. Piquant’s bouillabaisse has a classic seafood broth with orange peel and fennel. The contents? Grouper, bay scallops, shrimp, and clams.
It wouldn’t be brunch without an omelet, right? We dug into a Goat Cheese Omelet. Fluffy, perfect eggs were folded together with goat cheese, chorizo, cilantro, and caramelized shallots. I have to admit: this was my favorite dish of the brunch. It happens to be on the regular breakfast menu, so I know I’ll be tempted to order it again on a return visit.
The Black and Blue Benedict was up next. Two poached eggs were perched on top of roast beef, caramelized onions, mushrooms, a thyme scone, and topped with a blue cheese hollandaise sauce. To me, the eggs were cooked perfectly – once you drew your knife through them, the yolks oozed out in such a velvety, rich way!
The French “Redneck” seemed to be a crowd favorite amongst my dining buddies. Don’t be fooled by the way it looks; admittedly, it wasn’t the most colorful plate you’ll ever see. But: it was piled generously with croissant, sausage gravy, crisply shallots, and maple syrup. There was a balance between salty and sweet – it was an interesting combination to taste!
The Crab “Oscar” Crepes were a beauty to behold. Fluffy crepes were filled with asparagus tips, lump crab, and topped with a lemon hollandaise sauce. I have to say: the asparagus were cooked perfectly, with a slight crisp quality to them that married well with the creamy textures of the crepes, sauce, and soft crab meat.
Our final entree to dig into was the Duck & Waffles…and it was another crowd pleaser. Piquant’s awesome take on a southern classic featured pumpkin waffles and southern fried duck confit. A bourbon maple glaze, hot sauce, and crispy sage leaves accompanied the dish. It was another extremely successful combination of salty and sweet, crispy and soft. I honestly just wanted to grab a plate piled high with the pumpkin waffles – they were absolutely stellar on their own!
But we weren’t done there. No no no. A visit to Piquant would not be complete without sampling their croissant donuts. Until yesterday, I’d been dying to try one…as they seem to be all the rage lately! If you’re not familiar with a cronut, it is a hybrid pastry – a mix between a croissant and a donut. And boy, are they worth every single calorie. Piquant offers SIX different flavors of cronuts, and it was such a difficult decision to decide which I wanted to sample.
The options for croissant donuts included: cinnamon sugar, plain sugar, vanilla cream, Nutella, guava, and raspberry. They sit tall on the plate, and the sugar sprinkled on top beckons to you. I could not resist the pull of a classic cinnamon sugar croissant donut. Annnd I managed to consume the entire pastry with no hesitation. If you go to Piquant, you absolutely HAVE to order one before you leave. The outside is crispy and crusted with cinnamon sugar, but the inside is flaky, airy, and buttery. I’m already contemplating when I can visit Piquant again just to obtain more cronuts. Seriously.
All in all, I have to say I was very impressed with the brunch experience at Piquant! I love that they offer breakfast options, as well as a lunch menu. They are soon to be debuting a dinner menu (and cocktail menu too), so I would definitely keep my eyes peeled for that!