Big Taste Calgary Stop #2: Bistro Piq Niq!
I've never been to Piq Niq before, so I was excited to try it. The menu looked great, and so I booked a lunch there to celebrate International Women's Day with my mom.
Bistro is a tiny spot with only 34 seats (6 of them at the bar - yes, I counted). The decor is dominated by a massive - and I mean massive - chandelier. Of course, downstairs is the jazz bar Beat Niq - obviously it's not open during lunch but I wonder how it affects the atmosphere in Piq Niq at night, background noise wise.
For lunch, the restaurant was fairly empty, with only 5 tables or so taken, but I suppose that's understandable as it is hard to swing a long lunch these days, so most people wouldn't even think of going out to lunch at a restaurant unless it is a Friday. We ordered some sparkling water (thank you, workplace alcohol policy) and ordered off of the Big Taste menu. It was good to see that Big Taste menu was brought out as a default, although you could request the regular menu of course.
We both started with salad, which was greens and tomatoes with white truffle dressing. I enjoyed the dressing, though I felt there was too much of it. This is becoming a theme lately, which is strange, because I used to think restaurants never put on enough dressing. For main course, my mom got the quiche du jour, which was full of red peppers and had a salad on the side (the waiter ensured it was a different dressing, because my mom did not want to have the butternut squash soup to start - dressing tasted like balsamic to me). The quiche was well done, even though I am normally not a huge fan of quiche. Most importantly, it wasn't 10,000 calories, unlike what I ordered - duck confit leg on a bed of boar bacon and white bean cassoulet. It was incredibly delicious (I am partial to anything duck related), but in retrospect I probably should have done a 10-day fast prior to it.
The grand finale to the lunch was a chocolate mousse, which was very well executed - and the last nail in the coffin that is my state of wakefulness. My only nitpick with regards to Piq Niq (I am a poet now) is, what else, the tea selection. I ended up settling for green tea, which was okay. So why does Piq Niq get four stars even though Q Haute got three stars, and both had delicious food and crappy tea? Well, to be honest, it comes down to expectations. Q Haute had dazzled me with tea before, making Red Rose especially disappointing. With Piq Niq, I didn't have those expectations. I also want to note that I was impressed with the attentiveness of service we got at Piq Niq. Lastly, of course, I love classic French food.
To sum up, I was impressed with Piq Niq and I shall be returning to check out the dinner fare at one point or other, which couldn't possibly be because Piq Niq normally offers $15 corkage fee and even no corkage fee on Tuesdays.