Cute place. Quality food. Service okay.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Pip, which is located just off of Whyte Ave. It is part of the group who own The Next Act and MEAT next door, making it easy for the hunger struck to choose a place to eat without regret. Their tagline is "small place // big hearts", serving premium comfort food.
Looking around, Pip was buzzing with early morning risers, picture takers, and those wanting to try this new Edmonton restaurant. The interior of Pip is beautiful. Mint green and dark greys adorn this restaurant, and I can see how the interior design encourages people to take pictures of this quaint little restaurant. Even their sanitizing bottles match the green inside, and as a designer, I appreciated the attention to detail. Arriving around 11 am, it was very busy (there was quite a crowd at the door). After not being approached for at least 5 minutes, I went up to one of the staff to put my name down. To my surprise, what ended up being an estimated 30-45 minute wait was only 10-15 minutes, and I was thankful to get cover from the cold. We were greeted by our server quickly and placed our order in a very reasonable amount of time. I ordered the Farmers Breakfast, the Traditional Egg Benedict, and the Sweet French Toast Bake, along with a coffee and cappuccino.
Eager to taste the instagram worthy food of Pip, and three coffee refills later, I soon realized that our order was taking quite a while–more than 45 minutes in fact. I was a bit disappointed to see that the table next to me, who ordered after me, received their meal before us.
When our food arrived, everything looked great! The food was presented well and made for quite a feast for the eyes. My boyfriend really enjoyed his Eggs Benedict–I even had a taste and thought it was quite good. Don't let the dill in the hollandaise turn you off, as it was almost undetectable. I'd definitely give it a try next time!
The Farmers Breakfast is a pretty standard breakfast, but it is one of the better ones that I have had. The house hash was seasoned just right (not overly salty) and the potatoes cooked perfectly (not undercooked and hard, or overcooked and mushy). The fennel sausage, however, was a bit too greasy for my liking. And the eggs? Well they weren't over cooked, but they definitely weren't cooked to how the order was placed. Over medium eggs, showed up as over easy eggs. Overall, I found that the spicy fennel sausage overpowered the rest of the dish, and was surprised to see that the side of toast didn't come with any jam, as the sweetness of some jam could help offset the sausage.
The favorite of the three dishes ordered was the Sweet French Toast Bake. I am actually salivating as I try to recall how much I enjoyed this dish! The French toast bake was two generous slices of what I believe to be homemade cinnamon bread. Not overly dense, this lovely bread paired well with the maple cream cheese and strawberry rhubarb compote. Everything about this dish was well balanced. Sometimes French toast can be a bit overwhelming, when using more than a slice of bread. Many times I have had a very dense Banana Bread French Toast that just wasn't appealing. This was not the case with Pips. Every bite was delicious, and allowed for you to taste each component of this dish separately. That is to say, that one element did not overpower the other. It was also nice to see a cream cheese topping and not whipped cream, as that can leave your dish as a soggy mess. Two thumbs up for this French toast!
The Service & Ambience
As mentioned earlier, Pip was very busy. It was blistering cold the day I went, and being a newer establishment meant that the staff were working at full capacity. The service at Pip is an area that I believe needs some work. While our server was attentive in the beginning, she was absent near the end. We enjoyed the numerous coffee refills, but not once did our server check-up on us to see how our meal was, which could have fixed some of the errors with the meal.
The ambience felt busy. Due to it being so cold, many people were standing by the door and the restaurant felt crowded. With respect, I guess that is to be expected when a new restaurant opens, and when you attend on a cold day. Overall, the interior was as cute a the little pineapple logo, and I'd be curious to see what the ambience is like on a day where you don't feel rushed.
My overall thoughts on Pip are that they partially live up to their tagline. They are indeed a small place, and the food quality is surely on the higher end of brunches in the city. Nothing feels cheap about Pip, not the decor, nor the food. Pip feels inviting, not stuffy. However, the service could have been better, as our server could have been more attentive. I would advise those wondering whether or not to dine at Pip to try it! The food is flavourful! Just go in knowing that you may have to wait a while. Maybe have a snack before you go?
Other dining notes:
Pip doesn't seat more than 4 to a table. So don't expect to get in with a large party. Ever.
You can't make reservations. Personally, I am not a fan of places that you can't make reservations at. Once I think someone has made the choice to dine out, they do so because, one, they don't want to cook, and two, are hungry (emphasis on the hungry part). That means being able to eat as quickly as possible, venturing out without a reservation is risky when you're already hungry.
Our meal with two coffees and three dishes ran us about $70 including tip. Pip is reasonably priced for the quality of food, and nothing on the menu is over $20!
If you have recommendations of places I must try. Leave me a comment below!