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Style & Substance

Pipa Restaurant - 1685 Argyle St., Halifax

By the time you’ve sat down to order in the ambient, candle-lit and stone-walled rooms of Pipa, you won’t feel like you’re in Halifax anymore. I relished in the idea, ordering a full-bodied glass of South American Shiraz (though it was a toss-up between that and Portuguese sangria), and gazed in awe at the menu. I’d never seen so many unique, cultured, and intriguing items listed in one place.

The food is colourful and aromatic. We tried the mango, black bean and avocado salad ($8)—a heaping, well-balanced assortment of flavour for the senses with sweet mango and savoury baby greens.

The soup of the day ($6) embraced the heartiness of a traditional Portuguese kitchen. It was a simple but delicious mix of potato-based broth with onion, garlic and cuts of spicy Portuguese chouriço sausage.

The full-sized grilled chouriço ($8)—served sautéed and flaming—and chicken coxinhas ($7) were bold and piquant. Both were well-cooked and tender and were perfectly seasoned to appeal to a wide range of tastes.

The chicken piripiri ($16)—a dish from the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique—was delicately cooked. The marinade is unlike anything European that I’ve tasted—it’s listed as “spicy chili pepper” but is hardly overwhelming, and is balanced by sweet undertones that preserve your appetite for flavour when your stomach is full. The taste paired wonderfully with my rich and harmonious Shiraz.

The white cheese mousse ($7) dessert is an exotic and bold blend of tangy and sweet. Served in a martini glass, the evenly layered creamy cheese mousse and sweet guava sauce is irresistible.

The food at Pipa is unique in style and substance, and the service is excellent. Warm and personable, our server answered all of our questions and interested us in the culture behind the menu. The overall experience is great for anyone who enjoys comfort, a bit of escapism and exotic, innovative meals. But when you go, be warned—it will take more than one trip to try everything you want to. - SO

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