Over the last decade, chef Pang Kok Keong has established a following for his French macarons and pastries at the Les Amis Group’s Canelé. Yet he’s always harboured dreams of helming a series of bakery-bistro concepts. The first fruits of Pang’s labours with his Sugar Daddy Group have arrived in the form of his New York-style Pique Nique. Plough through the throng of Takashimaya shoppers, and you will be greeted by raw wooden floors and whitewashed showcases displaying classic American sweets like brownies and red velvet cake; inside, mismatched wooden chairs and stools, brownstone walls and black steel-framed windows make the space feel like a Manhattan loft conversion.
I went there on a Saturday morning and it was not very crowded yet, so the quiet ambience was very relaxing. The breakfast/brunch menu isn't very extensive, consisting of simple yet hearty and wholesome dishes with a homey feel to it, including omelettes, eggs benedict and the classic big breakfast.
The food, however, was quite a disappointment. I had the Norwegian Benedict, and my toasted english muffin was hard as a rock - I couldn't even cut into it! Even though the eggs and salmon were okay, the hard and dry bread made the whole dish really hard to eat. After struggling with a few bites, I decided to feedback to the waiter about my rock solid toast. Thankfully, the service was great and they replaced my whole dish with a new one, with a much softer english muffin the second time around. I was finally able to enjoy the whole dish, which was good, but not outstanding.
What's outstanding, though, is their desserts! The pretty little macarons on display at the counter looked so mouth-watering that I could not help but order it. The sea salt caramel and red velvet were absolutely delicious!!! The only thing I wished was that they were bigger so that I didn't finish them so quickly!
Even though the breakfast wasn't anything fantastic, I still enjoyed my time at Pique Nique and I think it is an ideal place to hang out with friends or family, especially with such yummy desserts!
The cake and macarons displays looked so extremely good that we had a hard time deciding which ones to get. We settled on a pistachio macaron & another red velvet one. The pistachio macaron was slightly bland in my opinion, and didn't have a flavour as distinct as I'd have liked it to be. You can't go wrong with red velvet though, and I liked the fact that it didn't exceed my threshold for saccharine!
Another item you could give a shot would be their farmer's omelette! It's basically an omelette done with 3 eggs and stuffed with hearty fillings - sauteed onions, bacon, sausage, potatoes and mushrooms. It was absolute comfort food. Even though I insisted that I wasn't hungry initially, I ordered one for myself after my friend finished 3/4 of hers. There's the typical eggs benedict available as well, but I thought this was a great option instead of the usual.
Ambience at Pique Nique is very different at both outlets. The Orchard branch has casual, laid-back, homely decor, while the Jurong branch features a rustic, country-side ambience. Personally, I prefer the look of the Jurong branch, with its appetizing wall posters, cute storage shelves, and (fake) greenery.
Fortunately, the service at Pique Nique isn't laid-back. Staff are friendly and alert, and will greet you upon entry. Food is also served rather quickly, within 10 minutes of ordering. I must commend the Barista at Pique Nique, they create some of the most precise Latte Art I've seen!
Pique Nique specialties include their all-day breakfast items, pastries and desserts. The menu is rather limited in terms of meals, featuring mostly all-day breakfast, appetizers, pasta and burgers. The range of desserts is extensive, and are available for takeaway.
The desserts are hands-down, the best items on the menu. No surprise, as chef Pang has won awards for his desserts! Unapologetically sweet and decadent, each dessert is beautifully crafted and presented. This high standard of quality does come at a price though, as a slice of cake can easily cost up to SGD $8 per slice, which is about half the price of a main dish! But the desserts are well worth a trip here, and if you don't eat anything else, at least try the desserts!
However, as a whole, I didn't find the food too impressive. I think it's possible to get better for the same price elsewhere. All the desserts looked tempting but I decided to go for the macarons. However, they didn't leave much of an impression. I only remember and like that they were not as excessively sweet as some others I've had, which is good.
The Peanut Butter Jelly milkshake sounded interesting so I gave it a try. It is one of the funkiest drinks I've tried. By that, I mean it tasted weird. Maybe it's just not too my liking but I could hardly bring myself to finish half the glass. And this strange drink, unfortunately, (and not all the delightful-looking desserts) forms my strongest memory of my one visit to Pique Nique. Hopefully next time, I'll order more wisely and will be impressed.
On a side note, I'm not sure if they were understaffed. There was no one at the payment counter and I had to wait really long before I could catch the attention of a staff in order to make payment.
However, the food is a little pricey for what they serve. I had a Farmer's Omelette which cost $13, which would be okay for an upmarket place serving brunch, but I shared a Sticky Date Pudding with Ice Cream that cost $12. No place should have dessert cost as much as a main course!
Despite that, I would recommend this place for anyone looking to chill with friends. I even spotted a long bench behind my table, that would seat big groups!
I would also recommend their Eggs Ben but it is unlike the traditional Eggs Ben that you get in Wild Honey and other breakfast places because it's given a "junk food" spin. Their version of Eggs Ben is two muffins crowned with poached eggs and what I think is black forest ham and a generous splash of hollandaise nestled in a sea of their super-addictive fries. It looked really messy but, hey, the taste is all that matters. And it was perfect.
Their cakes are not that great though, which is strange because I think Pique Nique prides itself on its cakes. But really, their cakes (and cupcakes, which are preposterously overpriced), while by no means horrible, are mediocre at best. A friend remarked that their Red Velvet looked weird. (I might add that they taste a little weird too.) The Blackout chocolate cake or whatever it is called isn't anything impressive either; I would recommend fudge and cocoa lovers to go elsewhere. As a general comment about the cakes at Pique Nique, they're most of them quite dry on the inside where there's not much frosting.
So I'd recommend only their breakfast items, burgers, and fries. Satisfy your cake cravings at some other place.
They had the all-day breakfast and i tried the egg benedicts which was a utter disappointment. Portions were small and the eggs were tough. The salad that accompanied the meal also had a stale taste to it. We also tried their famous red velvet cakes and despite the alluring look on the display, it tasted very average. Prices were slightly steep as well for the food quality we ate.
Overall, i will rather hop nearby to Wild honey or atoinette at mandarin gallery to have a more wonderful fix of breakfast and cakes.
The toast was like gardenia's white bread toasted, the sausage was probably the only nice thing (I mean you can't go wrong with sausages can you) and.. yah basically that. It's those kind of restaurants which food can't match up to the standards of what it seems to sell.
I must say I was fairly disappointed. The cakes look really appetizing though, haven't gotten a chance to try.