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Selected by enRoute Magazine as one of Canada’s best new Restaurants in 2015, Pigeonhole has really set the bar high as it opened its door last summer. Taking up the space right next to its sister restaurant, Model Milk, Pigeonhole is a new venture from Chef Justin Leboe who continues to impress Calgarians with his magic in food.


On Christmas Eve, Kev and I strolled down on 17th Ave and were ready to be dazzled by the gastronomic adventure we were about to have at Pigeonhole. Keeping the grey/green marble tabletops and spindly chandelier from the former British teahouse, the restaurant retains the old English charm. By painting the ceilings and walls white, it introduces a modern element into the space.

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I swear, you would fall in love with those floral-designed, dainty Victorian plates by the end of the night.

unique Victorian plates at Pigeonhole, Calgary

A girl can’t turn down a drink on a snowy winter night. Especially when it is Christmas Eve! Our server introduced me to a secret cocktail off the menu – earl grey martini ($12), mixing together gin, egg white, lime, and earl grey syrup. While I sipped away the dangerously delicious, refreshing drink, Kev went for a glass of cranberry-lime mocktail ($5).

cranberry-lime mocktail & earl grey martini from pigeonhole, calgary

cranberry-lime mocktail & earl grey martini

If you asked me what kind of food Pigeonhole serves, I really couldn’t categorize them into a specific genre of cuisine. Just as I thought I tasted British, something else screamed Japanese the next moment. There are no boundaries. The important point is – everything tasted finger-lickin’ good!!

With almost everything designed to be shared (unless you went for the ‘blue plate specials‘), Kev and I settled with a few options on the menu.

First up were the deviled eggs ($6). Pureed the yolks into a fine mousse-like texture and mixed with crunchy potato, these little bites of eggy happiness just knocked my socks off! Each bite ended with a nice, spicy kick along with a hint of freshness from the celery.
Deviled eggs from Pigeonhole, Calgary

deviled eggs

The bold flavors of the marinated calamari tostada ($12) made it a perfect dish to stimulate our appetite. We crushed the thin sheet of tostada lied on top of the dish and tossed it with the rest of the ingredients. Paired with shredded cabbage, the strips of squid left us with a mouthful of chewy, crunchy texture. The citrus and peppercorns tied the flavours together and gave the dish a little brightness. Hmm… the macadamia nuts wrapped it up with a rich nutty flavor and a nice crunchiness. T.A.S.T.Y.

marinated calamari tostada from Pigeonhole, Calgary

marinated calamari tostada

We all know that roasting peppers renders them a sweet, delicious treat, but have you tried charred cabbage ($13)? The blackened, halved cabbages were slightly charred on the edges to give it a smokey flavor. It didn’t require much to boost the flavours – japaleño salad cream and a layer of shaved mimolette on top were just enough to take you to heaven.
charred cabbage from Pigeonhole, Calgary

charred cabbage

Know Your Cheese: Mimolette

Produced in Lille, France, the semi-hard cheese is derived from cow’s milk and takes on an orange color. It can be consumed at various aging time, varying from 2 months to 24 months. With an appearance similar to an cantaloupe, the cheese has a fruity aroma and a buttery, salty, nutty taste.

Source: Cheese.com

If you have a weakness for gnocchi, try its close cousin – ricotta dumplings ($16). These little pillowy dumplings melted with every bite. As you chewed, the earthy aroma from the spinach danced on your palate. The confit onion really let the flavour of the ricotta shine through.

Ricotta dumplings from Pigeonhole, Calgary

ricotta dumplings

Ricotta dumplings from Pigeonhole, Calgary

ricotta dumplings

I must admit it is difficult to prepare lamb dishes well. If you’re hypersensitive to lamb odors like me, please don’t try this lightly. Coupled nicely with the grilled sourdough, the lamb tartare ($15) yielded a silky smooth consistency with a subtly peppery flavor, without tasting too meaty. However, I just couldn’t stand the gamey taste.
Lamb tartare from Pigeonhole, Calgary

driview farms lamb tartare

My recommendation for meat dishes went to the veal breast ($15). Over the top, the mushroom was deliciously coated in fragrant sesame oil and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. The cut of meat was delectably fatty and oh so tender. The salted plum purée on the side complemented well with the meat, giving it a subtly sour taste.
Veal breast from Pigeonhole, Calgary

milk fed veal breast

Before you grab the bill, don’t forget to treat yourselves with their housemade madeleines ($8). These soft, buttery French shell-shaped cookies were a perfect end to our special meal. They were gone before we knew it!

Madeleines from Pigeonhole, Calgary

maple brown-butter madeleines

Taken all together, Pigeonhole definitely lives up to the hype. It sure gains my respect for making the list of Canada’s best new restaurants with no objection. Kudos to their servers who made our experience unforgettable ?

Pigeonhole Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This post is part of the Fiesta Friday link-up! Click here for more cooking inspirations. Chee

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8 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. All the dishes you tried looks so amazingly tasty! If I’m ever in the area, I’ll definitely have to give it a try! Thanks for sharing with us at FF!

  2. It looks like a really cool place – thanks for trying it out for us!
    Happy FF!
    Ginger x

  3. I’ve definitely been wanting to try Pigeonhole–especially the fresh madeleines! What a thorough and detailed review. Hope I can get some friends or family motivated enough to go with me…I think mentioning the madeleines should do it 🙂

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