Is it just me or does breakfast seem to be the most controversial of all meals? There are some people who swear it’s the most important one of the day, while others couldn’t even be bothered with it. Personally, without breakfast, I’m useless – I’m cranky, have really low-energy, and find myself to be completely ravenous by lunch time.
I had just started to get better from a fever and sorely wanted to check out π Breakfast and Pies. It’s the newest concept restaurant of Chef Edward Bugia (of Pino, Pipino, and BRGR Project fame). All of his restaurants have a sort of simple genius to them, and I was thrilled to get first dibs in checking out his newest restaurant concept. So with a few friends in tow, we headed over to Malingap St. in Quezon City to check out the newly opened breakfast joint.
Although Chef Ed is known for his playful dishes, like Pipino’s Watermelon Steak, and inventive use of anything to do with bagnet, he is actually also a pastry chef at heart. This is quite evident with his wide array of baked goodies on sale at the store. You can get Ensaymada (Php 35/each) in either Queso de Bola or Ricotta, precious Pastel (Php 15/each) in Queso de Bola, Pork Flakes, or Milo flavors, as well as Baguettes (Php 25/each), Garlic Gourds (Php 35/each), Brioche Loaves (Php 95/each), Cheese Rolls (Php 30/each), Pandesal (Php 5/each), Spanish Bread (Php 10/each), Banana Bread Pudding (Php 45/each), Sticky Buns (Php 75/each), and Bombolinis (Php 10/each). All the breads go at 50% off after 8pm.
In a big jar on the counter sat a pile of Compost Cookies (Php 45/each) where I helped myself to some. Made out of what I’d like to presume are leftovers from Chef Ed’s snack cupboard, each dense circular treat contained everything from chocolate chips, pretzels, cornflakes, and maybe even the kitchen sink. Who knows really. Each cookie is really thick, with each bite being a pleasant surprise – the hodge-podge of ingredients making some bits of the cookie sweet, others salty, and others really chocolate-y. I sorely regretted not taking a few more pieces home with me.
To go with the cookies, Chef Ed had milk. Cereal Milk (Php 125 /each; Php 145/bottle) to be exact. You don’t have to go through a whole bowl of cornflakes to drink up the sweet, sugary leftovers at the bottom – the guys at π Breakfast and Pies have done all of that for you. This comes in two flavors: Cornflakes (think Kellogg Frosties) and Fruit Loops!
For those of the ‘healthy living’ persuasion, Chef Ed has accommodated you lot by putting Muesli (Php 165) on the menu. Pretty good by itself, this served with artisan Greek yogurt and some warm honey. This is more of a snack food I’d imagine myself enjoying while watching a movie, but to each his own.
A twist on the Pinoy breakfast favorite, π Breakfast and Pies serves Dark Chocolate Champorado (Php 155) made with tablea and a Japanese dark chocolate. This bittersweet, thick rice porridge is served with a dollop of cream cheese and cereal milk. Why cream cheese, you ask? Well, π Breakfast and Pies is a pretty small establishment, and frying up pieces of danggit would probably ruin the whole experience, so the saltiness of the fish was swapped out for the slightly salty and sour cheese.
If it’s toast you want for brekkie, Thick Homemade Brioche French Toast (Php 185) will not disappoint. The super thick slice of brioche is served with orange honey, a small scoop of ice cream, ricotta cheese and pistachios. The orange honey complements everything and brings the dish together, playing on the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream and the slight saltiness of the ricotta.
There are days when all I really crave for is a proper full English, but can’t be bothered to put everything together. The π Platter (P625) is a mix of fry up meets American breakfast, with smokey rashers of bacon, two eggs sunny side up, beef belly corned beef, artisan Hungarian sausage links, dense pancakes, wilted spinach with mushrooms, and bagnet fat fried fries are served on a huge platter with some orange honey and Sriracha mayo for your pancakes and fries, respectively.
Yes, you read that right: Bagnet Fat French Fries. Only Chef Ed could have come up with this. Screw those posh duck fat fries! Who needs that when you can get fries seeped in bagnet fat from next door?
The Chicken & Waffles (Php 165) is probably my favorite dish on the whole menu. A savory waffle made with bits of corn kernels and jalapeños, slivers of granny smith apples, blueberries, and a strawberry give the plate some much needed sweetness and color, before drenching everything in maple sour cream and chicken skin. It’s actually chicken skin and waffles, which makes it so bad – but it’s so good! And besides, it has fruit, so it’s semi-healthy. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Of course, π Breakfast and Pies’ menu wouldn’t be complete without Eggs Benny (Php 275), substituting bacon for ham. Thick-cut bacon, six-minute eggs, and asparagus spears are carefully balanced on English muffins, with more of that Sriracha hollandaise and spiced shoestring potatoes.
For a slightly healthier take on Eggs Benedict, there’s Eggs Sammy (Php 275) – salmon gravlax, six-minute eggs, and spears of asparagus on English muffins with a Sriracha hollandaise and spiced shoestring potatoes on the side.
The Huevos Rancheros (Php 275) was something different – it made me feel like I had gotten in my required vegetable intake for the day. along with whatever else Ed could spare in his pantry that morning. The cast iron skillet held chopped zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, beans, tomatoes, bacon, chicken skin, bell peppers, cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese, cilantro, eggs, and artisan Italian sausages. You toss everything together and break up the double-yolked egg, occasionally taking a swipe at the saucy remnants with the soft, absorbent brioche slice.
I have yet to understand the fascination with spam in this country, but nevertheless, I found the Caramelized Spam (Php 245) enjoyable. Big chunks of the stuff is served on top of garlic rice, a six-minute egg with pesto, some kimchi underneath, and scallions all around. I’m really not a fan or mechanically restored meat, but hey, a lot of people like it. What I do like is the homemade kimchi – I wish Chef Ed would bottle and sell the stuff already.
My ideal meal would have anything with steak, so the Steak and Eggs (Php 595) was a runaway hit. Made with Kitayama wagyu beef striploin, the steak is leaner with more of a bite than it’s USDA grade Angus counterpart, which makes for heartier breakfast fare. Served with sunny side-up eggs and petit salad, I liked dipping my cut up pieces of steak and the bagnet fried french fries in the bacon Béarnaise sauce.
For dessert, it was all about pie!
Clockwise: A delicious Banana Cream π (Pho675/whole; Php 95/slice) with tons of whipped cream and a lovely graham crust; a Candy Bar π (Php 1,150/whole; Php 155/slice) that was like the Compost Cookies in π form with an Oreo base and topped with chocolate (heaven!); a thick slice of Apple Gruyere π (Php 675/whole; Php 95/slice) that would be perfect à la mode; Crack π (Php 1,150/whole; Php 155/slice) that was like brown sugar in pie form;, Choco Raspberry π (Php 1,250/whole, Php 160/slice) which was fudgey, gooey and absolutely heavenly; and Key Lime π (Php 995/whole, Php 135/slice). I was most excited for the key lime pie, but it still needed a bit of work. It was just way too sweet – but this should improve in the next few weeks. It was only day five of the restaurant opening after all.
They also have a Butterfinger π (Php 825/whole, Php 125/piece) and Smores π (Php 945/whole, Php 130/piece) that wasn’t available on the day I paid them a visit.
Another dessert option that should just never be missed are the Lace Cookies with Dark Chocolate (Php 35/each). Each cookie was made super rich from the chocolate and caramel, and was incredibly chewy. I could only finish three of these in one sitting – and that’s coming from a chocoholic!
Congratulations to Chef Ed Bugia for such a successful restaurant opening! All of the breakfast grub is deliriously good, the πs are still giving me warm fuzzy feelings a few days later, and I will probably be making regular trips up north for the brioche and other baked goodies.
π Breakfast and Pies is located at 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City and is open daily from 7am – 10pm.