I spent last week at COLCOA (City of Lights, City of Angels), otherwise known as the French Film Festival in Los Angeles held at the Director’s Guild in Hollywood. I go almost every year as my version of a staycation, combining the fun of seeing foreign films debuting in the US with Question & Answer dialogues with the directors, writers, and actors. Of the six films I saw, my two favorites were “Haute Cuisine” (Saveurs du Palais) and “What’s in A Name” (Le Prénom). Best of all it’s only a 10 mile drive away and I always try new places to eat when I go.

This year I found The Pikey. It was so good that throughout the week of the film festival, I went back four times! The word “Pikey” is slang for “traveler” as in the kind who are known for taking advantage of people, but in the case of this place, I would gladly volunteer to be used as a gastronomic guinea pig.

Although it looks like an English pub from the outside, the food they serve here definitely has its roots in Los Angeles. Their ingredients are all locally or organically sourced, and all their meat is free range and cruelty free. The interior has a restaurant side and a bar side, but on most days the patio is a perfect spot to sit with the sunbrellas and heat lamps.

Not wishing to compete with 700 people at COLCOA for the free continental breakfast, I parked and walked the four blocks to the Pikey from the DGA building and had brunch. Their Bloody Mary for $8 is made with Vegemite! Yes, you read that correctly, Vegemite! Yes, those are pickled green beans as garnish. Yes, it was delicious!

I needed something more substantial than a $4 Crumpet with honeycomb and clotted cream for my movie marathon, so I ordered the cured Arctic Char with scrambled eggs in Hollandaise and biscuit for $14. This was probably the best brunch plate I have ever eaten.

The eggs were done perfectly, not too runny, not overcooked, the cured Arctic Char was sublime, and the Hollandaise was perfect proportion to the eggs and cured fish. The biscuit was fluffy and flaky (a difficult combination to master), needing nothing on it, and the watercress salad had a fresh lemon dressing that balanced the rich eggs and biscuit. Writing about it now makes me wish it was the week-end now so I can go get this again!

I went back after a show and ordered a dinner of the vegan eggplant, tomato and lentil curry served with Punjabi cornbread for $15, and the redolent spices of the curry made me smile with joy when it arrived on my table. I’m sorry to not have a picture for you, but it was dark and I did not want to disturb the other diners with a flash from my camera.

On another day I came before a movie and had appetizers outside. Even though they are a “pub”, they serve great wines like Muscadet, wonderful scotches, and exotic liqueurs mixed in signature drinks with names like the “Twiggy” the “Guvnor” and the “Coach and Horses” for about $14. I ordered a glass of Entre Deux Mers White Bordeaux (yes, I can be boring at times).

A white Bordeaux just tasted better with the Arctic Char Crudo with Sea Beans and California Citrus for $16. Both were delightful. The fish was amazingly fresh with a light citrus and olive oil dressing and the sea beans were slightly salty vegetables that resemble tiny asparagus. If you love sashimi this dish has your name on it.

Every server and host I had on my four visits was exceptionally friendly and professional, and since I couldn’t decide whether I wanted curried cauliflower or the thrice cooked chips with Worcestershire aioli (both $6), I asked my waitress to decide for me. She wisely chose the chips since she said, “You’ve already been so healthy with the crudo”!

The chips ($6) came with an assortment of sauces in case I did not like the Worcestershire aioli (it was good). They were so great simply plain (see, I  told you I’m boring) that I nearly ate them all (although I did sprinkle some malt vinegar on them just to be traditionally British).

On another afternoon I stopped in for the seared squid with curried chick peas for $13.The squid was absolutely tender and the curried chick peas had a nice smoky flavor. My only complaint about this plate was that there wasn’t more squid!

The key to watching two movies in one day is staying awake for both of them, so I had a latte before I left and was surprised at how well they make their coffee drinks! I would come here for just coffee (it was that good).

Another pleasant surprise was the sweet puff of meringue that came with the bill :)

They offer valet parking in the evening, but depending on when you are going, you can find free parking in the back or on one of the side streets off Sunset Boulevard.

Their menu says “Me Likey The Pikey”, and I couldn’t agree more!

The Pikey on Urbanspoon

 

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