The donut milkshake ($7) is a double whammy.
Chef Andrew Le is back in the kitchen, this time at Piggy Smalls, and his weekend brunch spread had me from the words "donut milkshake" and "oyako pho." It kicked off this past Labor Day weekend with waits upwards of 45 minutes, so if you're planning on going Saturday or Sunday, you had better make a reservation.
The donut milkshake is literally Love's Bakery powdered white Donettes blended into ice cream and spun with milk. It's topped with a frosted beignet hole filled with espresso cream, making for a decadent and oh-so-sweet start.
Next, the hot crab benedict pie ($17): Imagine an oversized crab cake wrapped in flaky pate chaud pastry and drenched with Old Bay hollandaise. Is it rich? Hell yes. And worth every calorie. I can't say that I've ever liked crab in a pastry so much.
For a different spin on a Piggy classic, get the milk and honey French toast ($13 plus $3 a la mode). A thick slab of sweet bread soaked in four types of milk hits the griddle until golden brown and custardy. There's honey and honeycomb candy, raspberry jam and Frangelico whip. You can add a swirl of custard for $3.
If you're partial to dutch baby pancakes like I am, you'll need to order these at the start. They take 20 to 25 minutes to cook and while they aren't very large, they are so worth the wait. I went with the miso butterscotch apple filling topped with fresh ricotta cheese and found that the miso added an unexpectedly incredible salty umami edge. The savory version is topped with duck sausage and crispy umami potatoes.
The fluffy, eggy texture of the pancake, which gets its origin from German pfannkuchen (and its name from a bastardization of "Deutsch"), is closer to that of popovers than the griddled flapjacks we're used to.
I had a hard time deciding between the Viet steak and eggs and the oyako pho topped with chicken and eggs simmered in dashi. Both rank high on my list of favorite foods, but after so many bready carbs, all I wanted was meat. The steak is seared in fish sauce, browned butter, garlic and black pepper: think shaken beef (bo luc lac). It arrives sliced over a sweet-tart tomato confit with two sunny side up eggs and a small salad.
Other entree choices include a smoked bacon bolognese pasta ($16) and Truffle Shuffle quiche ($15), which is a light souffle of eggs and summer truffle sofrito. If you couldn't tell, there's yet another pool of saliva forming as I type this.
Although not my favorite item, the cold smoked marlin dip with green apple in lieu of crackers is a nice snack to have on hand if you're waiting for your party to arrive.
Go hungry. Go wild. This brunch is fun. I can already see myself going next weekend. I'm gonna need that oyako pho and smoked bacon bolognese.
1200 Ala Moana Blvd.
Saturday and Sunday brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.