For the May long weekend, Joe and I managed to nab Tuesday off to make it even sweeter. Heading towards Banff, we made a pit stop in Calgary for some lunch. I had previously weighed out the pros and cons of Calgary’s newest or trendiest restaurants and Black Pig Bistro made the cut for me to try. They are new to the Bridgeland area and photos of their opening and dinners have been popping up on my social media feeds. Looked absolutely delicious! So of course, I timed it all perfectly to arrive at our 11:30 reservation that Saturday.
The interior is absolutely gorgeous, attracting all females of the sorts to its Tiffany blue walls. I’m always a big fan of exposed bulbs as well and the dining area felt nice and airy. The restaurant was mostly empty, most preferring to wait in line for Shiki Menya’s ramen next door (post to come). I think Black Pig Bistro was designed and more suitable for dinner.
Our first plate was the reason why I even bothered to stop into Calgary on the way to Banff. The black Iberian pig lives mostly in southern Spain and some parts of Portugal and are bred and fed specific diets in order to get its smooth, rich taste of cured ham. As their menu states, the pigs feed on grass, olives, and acorns. Not only that, they’re divided into further categories depending on what they ate (i.e solely acorns, acorns and grains, only grains, etc). Think ducks and foie gras. Kobe beef. This is the king of all pigs.
For $24, the 48 month old Jamon Iberico was served with baguettes spread with a tomato rub. Joe wasn’t sure if I had gone completely crazy or if this was a once in a lifetime meal. A little bit of both. I had never tried it before and there’s a first time for everything, especially when it comes to food. The meat was fatty, well marbled, and buttery in texture. The bite was a little chewy when comparing to proscuitto or other cured hams that I’ve tried. Maybe one day I can do a direct comparison in order to notice the subtle differences. I don’t mind forking out the dough once in awhile though but proscuitto will be my kind of style for now. The baguettes were delicious in itself and when paired with the cuts, they were a little overpowering in taste. A fresh tomato rub can do that.
Post-Iberico bites, we had our main dishes. Joe ordered the spicy cauliflower chitarra. All I had to tell him was that I had read a comment to the likes of “tastes like Korean pasta” and he was sold. It doesn’t take much to convince him to order a certain dish. Soup. Spicy. Korean. The chitarra (square version of spaghetti) was well done and had a nice texture. The sauce definitely had some heat to it but it was welcomed by its eater. I was super impressed by the thin slices of raw cauliflower garnish, just thin enough so it didn’t crumble. Bits of serrano ham were in the dish although larger chunks would have been more enjoyable in my opinion.
Figuring I would be reaching my quota of meat for the day from the jamon Iberico, I ordered the French onion grilled cheese. How could you not? It came out nice and crispy on the outside, with ooey-gooey Appenzeller cheese, an aged Swiss cow’s milk variety, on the inside. Ohhh man, write that down for your next grilled cheese creation. It was stringy, stretchy, melty, I could go on but you get my drift. One of the best grilled cheeses I’ve ever had. Not to mention caramelized onions in the mix, a truffle jus to dip, and a side of housemade pickled vegetables. I could barely finish my lunch and considered packing it up to eat on the road, but you might as well consider that distracted driving. Food + Cindy + driving = accident.
Somehow my brain was on overdrive and was still thinking about dessert. Something light and refreshing to cut the fattiness of my lunch. I was dying for a tiramisu but that somehow didn’t match what I just described. Luckily, they were offering a housemade lemon sorbet that day. Perfect! Our server warned us that it was tart, although what she should have warned us was the sweetness! Not sure if it was the entire sorbet that was sweet, or if it was an additional drizzle of syrup over top, but it was more sweet than tart. Not as much ice content as other sorbets either. But it did the job, palate cleansed, refreshed, and ready to hit the road!
I would return to Black Pig Bistro for dinner perhaps, our lunch getting quite pricey. Calgary’s got a lot of fine eats though so it’d be hard for me to return any time soon. It’s strange that I don’t go down south nearly enough so every time I do, I always want to try something new! Definitely check it out though if you’re in town and try the Jamon Iberico, for the sake of saying you’ve tried the king of cured hams and to taste a delicious salty, fatty treat!Black Pig Bistro
8251 1 Ave NE (Calgary)