On Mathematical Musings: Pi Breakfast and Pies, Malingap Street
Updated: Oct 8, 2022
I've hated math for as long as I remember.
The difficult equations and confusing figures traumatized me a lot during my elementary and high school years. I generally performed well in other subjects, but a low math grade rendered those for naught. I always experienced a scolding or two when my grades came in, which only served to reinforce my fear of math.
I graduated from elementary and high school, yet that fear followed me until college – to the point that I took a course that did not have math at all. Boy, I was wrong. Math was still part of the general college curriculum, and I flunked it on the very first try. While I passed it on the second take and managed to graduate with a college degree, that F grade will remain in my transcript.
But Pi Breakfast and Pies, located a stone's throw away from the Maginhawa Street epicurean strip, does not have anything mathematically confusing. This concept restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Ed Bugia alongside Filipino restaurant Pino (fine) and its vegetarian counterpart Pipino (cucumber). Notice the wordplay here: Pi, Pino, Pipino.
As its name states, Pi serves breakfast meals all day from opening to closing. It also has baked specialties for those who prefer lighter fare. I visited this branch with a former partner back in 2015; since then, Pi opened and closed other branches. Here are the food items we tried that time.
The place offered Sugar-Free Apple Pie for those wishing to indulge minus the guilt. Unfortunately, we did not try this during our visit. However, we tried the Key Lime Pie – a classic American dessert. This take did not disappoint as the tartness of calamansi (calamondin) balanced out the filling's sweetness and cleansed the palate.
I ordered an Omelette and a serving of Garlic Rice to stick to the all-day breakfast theme. Since the omelette allowed for five fillings – I opted for spinach, ham, mushroom, ricotta cheese and diced longganiza (Filipino sausage). While the omelette was well-packed, the garlic rice did not have anything special.
Meanwhile, my partner ordered French Toast. She said it was not too cloying because of the right amount of sweetness, and the in-house brioche used for the toast made things better. I fortunately managed to take a picture of this before the vanilla ice cream on top melted.
This 2015 visit to the joint's flagship branch at Malingap Street did not have a follow up. As the years passed, menu items from Pi Breakfast and Pies were incorporated into the menus of Pino and Pipino. Bugia also acquired the Limbaga 77 restaurant near the Tomas Morato area.
It was only after seven years – in March 2022 to be exact – that I managed to return to Pino and Pipino. The restaurant opened a branch at Trinoma, which was more accessible to me than the flagship branch. I stopped by for a rather late lunch, trying out specialties from Pino and Pipino.
I ordered two appetizers – the Nori Cheese Sticks and Salted Egg Shrimps and Crablets – to start off. The first appetizer is comprised of cheese sticks wrapped in a first layer of dried seaweed sheet and a second layer of flour wrapper. The second consists of deep-fried small shrimps and crablets coated in salted egg sauce, with pieces of the actual salted egg mixed in.
The appetizers paired well with beer, but also tasted good as main courses. The cheese sticks appealed to me because of the strawberry jam drizzled on top, which provided a sweetness that cut through the savory taste. While the shrimp and crablet platter was delicious, I admit that the serving overwhelmed me – so I took some of it home.
I also ordered Garlic Rice for old times' sake, as any meal would be incomplete without rice. This time, I only asked for one serving which was sufficient enough. I closed off the meal with the Tablea Cheesecake, which makes use of local cacao. The firm cheesecake had the right amount of sweetness, with the cacao's earthy taste pairing well with the crust.
Unfortunately, the Trinoma branch did not have the menu items from Pi Breakfast and Pies as their business hours aligned with that of the mall. I nevertheless enjoyed my meal there – and even had some for takeaway.
Until the next post, bon appetit.