Tucked away on Hamilton Street is the warm and inviting, brick-exposed Flying Pig. If you’ve lived in Yaletown long enough, you know that this place used to be half the size. In the past few years, they’ve grown their footprint in Yaletown, and brought the Flying Pig to Gastown and the Olympic Village. Living in the area, I’ve been to Flying Pig for lunch several times on business meetings (the breaded chicken cutlet is so good). So I was excited to come check it out for brunch, as I had yet to do that.
Whenever I’ve been walking around the ‘hood on a weekend I usually see a line at the Flying Pig. That’s always a good sign. I scheduled my brunch date to meet me early, as I know he doesn’t like to wait in lines. When we arrived, we were greeted with a quick and short hello, before being taken to a two-top. This entire row of tables were all very close to neighbouring tables–enough that you can hear everyone’s conversations. To try to drown the sound from the table beside us, we ordered a mimosa and a Caesar hoping the alcohol would quiet the conversations.
Watching my friend across the table, I could tell he was unimpressed by the brunch menu. It’s simple. There are six main breakfast dishes, and five sides to choose from. With that limited of a menu, I’d expect everything to be outstanding, as they have the chance to really focus on perfecting each item. Uninspired, my friend chose two sides – the ‘pork paradise’ and the crispy hashbrowns that were “made to order”. I strayed from my usual salmon Benedict dish, and ordered the wild mushroom, asparagus, chèvre frittata. It came with a green salad so I also ordered the “made to order” hashbrowns.
At one point during our brunch experience, our server was talking with the table beside us. In order to connect with them (this couple chose to sit side by side along the narrow wall booth practically right beside my friend), our server had his back to us, his ponytail leaning over our table. It wasn’t very enjoyable. Well it might have been, had he turned to ask us how we were enjoying our meal, or if I needed more coffee. It seemed our server could really care less about our table, and was far more interested in that couple and everything else in the restaurant. My coffee cup sat empty for the majority of meal.
Now let me get on to that meal. The frittata was decent with wild mushrooms that were diverse and tasty. It was perfectly created with a great texture. The accompanying green salad was light and plain. My friend’s ‘pork paradise’ had no paradise, there was no presentation, just three pieces of meat in a bowl. Afterwards he said it tasted more like luncheon meat than a paradise of pork. Now let me talk about the potatoes. If you read my bio, you know I love my breakfast potatoes. We ordered two dishes as we each wanted our own. These should come out the same, as they were ‘made to order’ crispy hashbrowns. One of them was a bit more underdone, and to be honest, a tad greasy in the middle. It left a significant oil slick on the plate. The other was far too overcooked, with the sides being extremely crisp and tasted just like Hickory Sticks. Yes, Hickory Sticks, just like those chips. To be honest, it wasn’t very impressive. I’ve actually never seen such a discrepancy between the same dish served at a table, and I’ve served a lot of tables. I would have told my server but he never really came back to see how the food was.
Overall it was a disappointing experience. The service wasn’t that great (I’m still regretting my standard 15% tip), the food was unimpressive, and it felt a little too crowded. I’d recommend that they give up a two-top in order to give their remaining customers an extra 2 inches of space. It would give more room for guests to enjoy the dining experience.
When I asked my friend if he would ever want to come back to the Flying Pig his reply was “when pigs fly.”
1168 Hamilton St
Open for Brunch Saturday/Sunday from 10:30 am.
Cynnamon Schreinert is a busy PR gal about town, an ex-server, and an expert on breakfast potatoes. You can find her on twitter @cynnamons.