Piquant: A Flavorful French Bakery & Restaurant in Hyde Park
Have you ever been to the Strawberry Festival? Full of shortcake, milkshakes, funnel cakes, corn dogs etc and it’s good times and you leave with the Guinness Book of World Records food baby and life is glorious. That’s what was in store for me, Blaire (of Dreaming Ingredients) and Kerry (from Snark & Pepper) this past Sunday. Then, I received a text on Saturday that was more glorious than the glorious day I was anticipating. Blaire explained that she got caught in Strawberry Festival traffic coming back from Orlando and that, combined with chilly weather, her new idea was for us three to go to Piquant in Hyde Park for brunch instead. Bring.It.On.
Blaire and I had both been to Piquant before during the Dishcrawl Hyde Park tour and I was all too excited to drop everything else we were planning on doing just to go back and introduce Kerry to this charming, beautiful French brasserie. Piquant, taking over the space where Sophie’s used to be, has such a classic, wonderful vibe. There are beautiful white tables, clear chairs, a brightly-lit pastry case, classy wallpaper, happy employees, enthusiastic chefs/owners…I mean, the list goes on and on. I am so incredibly impressed. Piquant also serves many gluten-free and vegetarian items. They clearly already have a following, even in their 5 short weeks of being open.
During this visit, I was reminded that my favorite people to have a meal with are foodies because I’m encouraged to order as much as my little foodie heart desires, take pictures and then spend half my time sharing the pictures on various phone apps. In fact, when I spoke aloud about all the dishes I would be ordering, I was met with a resounding, “Do it!” from my companions. And do it I did.
It’s relatively hard to decide on a single dish at Piquant in one sitting. This is why I not only ordered a handful of items, but I also have many a plan to go back for more. My goal is to order every item off of the menu through my visits. This is not a joke. I will conquer all of the Piquant goodies.
Since it was brunch time, I started with the breakfast menu. While everything caught my eye, there was one dish in particular that I had to have and it’s all because of two words: GOAT CHEESE.
Oh, goat cheese, you have my heart. Your silky creaminess leaves me in awe. I’ll never let go, goat cheese…I’ll never let go. xoxo.
This Goat Cheese Omelete also consists of cantimpalo chorizo, cilantro and caramelized shallots, inside perfectly cooked eggs. The components are spread throughout the omelete so you can really experience the blend of all the ingredients with each bite. The eggs, goat cheese, chorizo and shallots created four very different textures, making this omelete very dynamic.
I also decided to order a side of the Du Jour Pommes de Terre which happened to be purple potatoes today, another new item to me. These potatoes were slightly crispy and perfectly seasoned. No salt or condiments necessary.
I certainly appreciated having Kerry at brunch because she decided to order the Banana Bread French Toast…as an appetizer. Yep, I’m in the company of good people.
Although I wouldn’t normally order a sweet dish for breakfast such as this one, Piquant has pretty much changed my mind. The banana bread was wonderful and served with whipped cream, banana slices and maple syrup, then dusted with powdered sugar.
Next up was the Sunday special: Braised Short Ribs on a french baguette with a red wine demi-glace, poached egg, chipotle hollandaise and crispy onion.
Just look at that dish. Every plate at Piquant is like a work of art, something to be admired and appreciated.
The last item I had in-house was the Passion Fruit Meringue. Just as wonderful as I remembered it to be, I’d venture to guess that every future visit to Piquant will end with me ordering one of these. The creamy, slightly tart meringue is presented in a crisp shell and it’s to die for. To DIE, I say.
Per the usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I knew I couldn’t fit another bite. However, I wanted to be able to eat Piquant for dinner too! So, I ordered some items to-go from the lunch menu and the bakery case.
Again, every item caught my eye and I had a very hard time deciding. Eventually I fixed on the Pulled Chicken Sandwich with fontina, cilantro aioli, tomato, crispy shallots and balsamic glaze, served on challah.
All sandwiches on the lunch menu come with Piquant’s Root Vegetable Chips or Pomme Frites. The root vegetables making up these chips include taro, Caribbean sweet potato and yucca, very thinly sliced and crisped.
Of course, as I’m learning, it’s virtually impossible to skip on taking home additional bakery items. I decided on Zucchini Bread and the Kiwi Lychee Mousse.
The bread was soft with a hint of zucchini and a slight crunch on the crust. A very pillowy bread that I can’t wait to try more variations of. The mousse was sweet and juicy, with a very cleansing taste, and the kiwi was an excellent choice to round out the flavors of this dessert.
I would say to make sure to browse the bakery items during your Piquant visit, but it’s not necessary; your eyes will already be drawn to all the opinions available. From cookies and pastries to mousse and freshly-baked bread, the bakery case will definitely provide you with a dilemma on what exactly to order. My suggestion is to just order it all.
A delightful area to just relax
I implore you, dear reader, to visit Piquant. Chefs Rosana Rivera and Ricardo Castro put so much care and creativity into their restaurant and it absolutely shows. The food is quality. Rosana and Ricardo are genuine and appreciative of every visitor. This restaurant deserves everything I see coming their way and I couldn’t be happier to be supporting Piquant as they impress Tampa.
Even though this was only my second visit to Piquant, I immediately felt at home when I walked through their doors. In fact, I felt at home on my first visit as well. It’s just that special. I have a feeling Piquant and Tampa residents will blend into a big, happy, huggy family and I’m excited to be a part of it.