There are only a select number of places where one can go for an English (or Irish) breakfast here in Pittsburgh, but thankfully Piper’s Pub on the South Side is one of them. The best part is that Piper’s now serves brunch fare every weekend from 8 AM-3 PM each day. Although Claddagh’s Irish Pub, a chain restaurant is nearby in the South Side Works complex, does feature a full Irish breakfast on its menu, that is about it from a brunch perspective. Piper’s brunch offerings are considerably more extensive.
I had eaten at Piper’s once before and had a pleasant experience so I was definitely eager to try it out for breakfast. For many people the biggest draws about Piper’s is its extensive Scotch and beer menus (their draught list changes on a weekly basis) and the fact that is it the place to catch football games, the non-American kind. Piper’s website features a schedule of current and upcoming games to catch along with a commentary style blog. I didn’t do a complete count as we walked right through the bar area to get to the restaurant section but I would say there are at least four more massive TVs playing all different games. My one qualm with the restaurant is that it is extremely noisy at any time of the day due to the TVs, people having to speak loud to be heard, and the sometimes over zealous football fans cheering when their team scores.
We started our meal off by splitting a cup of the Gaelic Four Onion Soup for $2.45. It featured caramelized leeks, scallions, red and white onions de glazed with English Pale Ale and finished with a Stilton cheese-crusted crouton. The crouton was at best okay, a bit too soggy since I generally like the bread topping in onion soup to be a bit tougher, more of a challenge to break through to get to the actual soup. The broth and vegetables though were delicious.
Although I didn’t find out about boxties until after my trip to Ireland, I did try to make them once at home but sadly they did not turn out…at all. Thankfully for me they are a prominent feature on Piper’s brunch menu. In addition to the traditional Irish boxty ($9.95) which is what I had (a crispy potato pancake folded over bangers, ham, scrambled eggs and provolone cheese), there is also a creamed corn beef boxty, a grilled vegetable boxty and a smoked salmon boxty. While I liked it I didn’t necessarily love it as it seemed way too much was packed in (bangers and ham was a bit much). The cheese was also overpowering; it felt as if I was eating the cheese portion of a mozzarella stick.
D opted for the Irish Breakfast which came with scrambled eggs, bangers, ham steak, and half-mashed red potatoes with tomatoes and a hard roll for $9.95. He enjoyed his meal and liked the fact that the scrambled eggs were not the typically soft and runny style but firmer. I was a bit surprised that the tomatoes served were whole cherry tomatoes. Having eaten an Irish breakfast before, I’m more used to seeing the tomatoes stewed and not as if they had just been plucked from a vine.
Other brunch selections include Belgian French toast, smoked salmon blt, and an English and traditional style (read: American) breakfast.
Piper’s is a great place to go to for a taste of the British Isles here in Pittsburgh, although I may prefer to stick to dining at dinnertime the next time I go.