Winning first place in the Best New category in the 13th Annual Best Restaurants Awards, Pigeonhole's menu offers creative small plates with influences from around the world.
photograph by jared sych
On the table: Charred cabbage with jalapeno salad, cream and Mimolette cheese. Sustainable B.C. tuna crudo with soy, lime and puffed rice. Spaghetti squash with chorizo emulsion and almonds. Ricotta dumplings with hedgehog mushroom and confit onion. Salted cod crepes with pickled onion, potato, cream and dill.
The decor speaks of Parisian cafés and bars with marble tables and chandeliers. The wine list is well-curated with a nod to atypical wine regions. And the menu is clever and innovative, featuring eclectic small plates influenced by dishes from Europe, Southeast Asia and further afield — a melting pot of cuisines served up on mismatched plates. The latest from chef Justin Leboe defies definition, and the moniker, Pigeonhole — as in, what the restaurant refuses to be — reflects exactly that.
Nestled next to Model Milk in a former dairy building, Pigeonhole has breathed new life into the space once occupied by Victoria’s. That spot’s old sign remains as an homage to the building’s history, overlaid now with the neon pink of Pigeonhole’s signage. Inside, the soothing setting serves as a backdrop to the ever-changing menu of unexpected dishes. The plates are small and eminently shareable, which makes it easy to take the international tour around Leboe and chef de cuisine Garret B. Martin’s borderless approach to food, while enjoying an expertly crafted cocktail or glass of wine.
Restaurants in the Best New Restaurants category opened by the end of summer 2015. It gave each restaurant time to find its groove and our judges time to eat there before the deadlines for our March issue. Other restaurants have opened since and they are on our radar for next year.