Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Pikey: Gastropub with Brilliant Brunch in Hollywood!

I'd never been to Ye Coach & Horses, the historic dive bar that was on Sunset in the space that has now been transformed to the two month old British-American gastropub The Pikey Cafe & Bar, so I have no basis for comparisan, but the new space is fantastic, as I found out this weekend. 

When lifestyle blogger Whitney Lader sent an invite for a media tasting, to check out their newly launched brunch service - I couldn't resist. Girl has mad talent picking places that have the perfect storm of cool venue, great cocktails, and fab food - and The Pikey is no exception.

The new space, as the name states, is a hybrid of cafe and bar - divided into three sections: sunlit dining room, adjacent to the cavernous main bar with red booths, and private bar in the back.  The cafe area has a cool retro-luxe Manhattanite vibe with huge ornate gold-framed mirrors, rustic wood tables and chairs, and green booths running the length of the dining room, leading up to an open kitchen in back.  Where Chef Ralph Johnson, former executive chef of New York's 1-Michelin-starred The Spotted Pig (who has also worked with Chef Heston Blumenthal of London's famed 3-Michelin-starred The Fat Duck, and was named one of Zagat's 30 under 30 in New York last year), is at the helm.

The Pikey prides itself on using organic, local, farm produce and free range, cruelty-free meat - and quality of ingredients really shone through in all the cooked dishes we tasted (with a party of ten, we were able to try a lot of the dishes on the brunch menu)! 

We started with housemade pastries: Coffee Cream filled Donut, and Sticky Bun.  To be honest, I didn't really love these - the donut was a bit too chewy, and the coffee cream was runny and not very flavorful.  Then again, I did arrive a little late, so that might have been a factor in texture.  The Sticky Bun was quite good - it's apparently a two-day process to produce! - but not mind-blowing.

The cooked dishes though, were amazing - unexpectedly high-end fare in a decidedly unstuffy setting - and what will definitely be bringing me back soon!
Brioche French Toast with stone fruit & creme fraiche ($11) this was one of the best french toast dishes I've ever had - the toast itself was nice and fluffy with slightly crisped sides - but it was the toppings that stole the spotlight.  The combination of super fresh sweet-tart peaches, cherries, lovely, smooth creme fraiche and super fragrant basil was pitch perfect.  As was the ratio of 'toppings' to toast.  Love that they didn't do the standard syrup or berries.

With a full bar, The Pikey has a great cocktail list  - Bloody Mary caught my eye as it is made with housemade Vegemite (paste made from yeast extract)! So...Australian (fine, it is a British colony).  I usually don't enjoy Bloody Marys as they are too thick, like drinking tomato sauce - which isn't that appetizing first thing in the morning.  But The Pikey makes theirs nice and light - it was actually a very refreshing drink, with a bit of heat - and a giant stalk of celery for garnish (and snack...).

Next up was my absolute favorite of the meal: Curry on Toast with a Fried Duck Egg ($10) it was shockingly sophisticated / original for brunch much less at a pub!!! The curry was intoxicatingly fragrant, and perfectly tempered for the just awakening stomach / sense by the toast and soothing mild flavors of the duck egg and its lovely runny yolk. I don't think I've seen such a dish at any other brunch spot in LA...A bloody brilliant dish that I will definitely come back for!
Apparently Chef Johnson knows quite a bit about meats, especially pork. He house cures / smokes his bacon and sausages etc., and the House Smoked Bacon ($5) was delicious - spot on fat to meat ratio and just the perfect hint of sweet.
The Cured Arctic Char with Scrambled Egg, Biscuit, and Hollandaise ($14) was a beautiful sight - though this one doesn't strike you as immediately original as the others, this was a nice meeting of three classic breakfast items that you wouldn't normally see together: scrambled eggs + cured fish (inspired by lox?) + hollandaise sauce (normally served over a poached egg on eggs benedict).  A very well-executed plate - the scrambled egg was beautifully pillowy and still wet around the edges, the way I like it.  The fish added a smooth, cool blast of salinity while the hollandaise held it all together with creamy deliciousness.
One of the ladies at our end of the table, Sam Durbin, loves and requested Egg in the Hole with House Smoked Bacon and 100% Pure Maple Syrup ($12) - I wasn't very familiar with the dish, but it is pretty much self-explanatory - it's an egg cooked into a hole cut out in bread.  And, as Sam pointed out, what V made for Natalie Portman's character for breakfast in V for Vendetta - that is what sparked her interest in the dish, and she had set out to try it at every place she could.  This is why I love meals with food writers.  The Pikey's version of Egg in the Hole though was I think overshadowed by the epic creativity and taste of the others.
The kitchen very generously kept sending out food! We also tried Slow Roasted Pork Belly Sandwich with horseradish cream, cornishons and watercress ($13) - this was more like hamsteak in taste and texture, but I did love the use of horseradish cream for a kick that cut through the pork flavors nicely, and cornishons chopped up and slid right into the sandwich that punctuated bites of meat with bursts of sour-sweet juicyness.  The fries on the side are also noteworthy - they're 'thrice cooked', which makes them super crispy outside and deliciously soft and yieldy inside.  We didn't leave a single fry on the plate.
Last up of the cooked dishes is the Fried Eggs, Pork Sausage, Bacon, Beans, Roasted Tomato & Mushroom with Grilled Toast ($13) which our informative server let us know is actually called "Full English Breakfast" - but they broke out the elements on the menu as most people here wouldn't know what Full English Breakfast means.  I thought the best thing on this plate was the housemade pork sausage, so soft, tender and fresh.
Before we finished, fellow foodie Narmar ordered Pimm's Cup made with fresh berries, and having established that we were both huge fans of Matt Biancaniello of Library Bar, I trusted her recommendation on this drink - and she was right, it tasted so fresh and light yet flavorful with fresh muddled berries.  Would order this again on my next visit, for sure.
All in all, a fantastic meal that exceeded all (already high because it's a Whitney event) expectations. Exciting, delicious food in a lovely space for reasonable prices - it's a winning combination.

The Pikey also has a pretty intriguing dinner menu that includes Welsh Rarebit, Seared Squid with Curried Chickpeas, and pig ear salad - have made a note to self to go back soon to check that out, especially since they offer that menu for late night dining (last call 1:30am, restaurant open til 2am), and there aren't many places with food this interesting and good that operates those hours!

In the meantime, adding The Pikey to my list of favorite spots for brunch.  Glad we got to go before it blows up into a 'hotspot' with a 'scene' (apparently Michael C. Hall, star of Dexter was also there at a table behind us for most of the morning - single girls around the table bemoaned that no one pointed that out to us the whole time til he'd left!).  The name may reference British slang for 'gypsy', but judging by the quality of food we had yesterday, it's definitely one that will quickly leave its mark on the culinary map of the city, as one that is here to stay.

Cheers to Whitney for organizing yet another fun and delicious event!

[For more photos from The Pikey, as well as other hot brunch spots around the city, check out my Facebook album here.]

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 6 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100% 

*Disclaimer: This meal was hosted.
______________________________________________________________________

The Pikey Cafe & Bar Hollywood

7617 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles,CA 90046
Ph: 323.850.5400

Parking: Metered street parking on Sunset (1 hour max - check signs), Valet $7

Website: thepikeyla.com/
Twitter: @thepikeyla
_____________________________________________________________________


The Pikey on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...