I always find it interesting when a new restaurant opens here in Halifax. With the endless construction that went on on Argyle within the last year or so, we have seen several restaurants come and go, menu changing, aesthetic changing, ect. When I saw that the location that previously housed the Wooden Monkey was being opened as a Brazilian restaurant, I was filled with curiosity and excitement. After all, with all the various types of cuisine in the city, no one had yet to venture to this mysterious, spicy locale- until now.

My friend and I made a date to visit Pipa last Tuesday night. I reviewed the menu during the day, and had pre-determined my meal- or so I thought… When we started asking our very knowledgeable (and accommodating) server questions, everything changed!

Carne de Caranguejo com Tapioca
Warm crab salad with tapioca crisp for scooping

I chose a light crab salad to start the meal. Tender crab was binded together with tomato, coconut milk and a touch of cilantro. With every bite, I was sad to see the pile disappearing from my plate. I could easily imagine this mix being made into fishcakes, wrapped up in a crepe or omelet or on a toasted bun.

The crab salad was served with a tapioca cracker- a flavourless, sawdust tasting cracker to be used as a tool to scoop up the crab. The concept is authentic Brazilian, but those first couple bites ruined the salad. My friend came to my rescue though, offering some baguette and elevating my dining experience to top-notch status!

Chorizo Grelhada
Chorizo sausage with caramelized onions and toasts

The chorizo appetiser consisted of a large sausage link, sweet caramelized onions and a generous portion of toasted baguette. Though my friend loved the sausage’s robust, spicy flavour, something was a little lacking with the plate. Our server quickly brought out a sausage’s signature sidekick- some spicy mustard, while my friend smiled their satisfaction.

For our mains, my friend went with an entree, while I went for a second appetiser. The main was a substantially-sized dish in comparison to my appey– but I didn’t regret my decision for an instant. Though a smaller portion, my Empanada was just as filling.

Frango Piri Piri
A dish from Mozambique; baked chicken in a spicy chili pepper marinade

Though my friend normally tries to order something more adventurous than chicken in a restaurant, this dish generated rave reviews. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender with a piquant, veg-filled sauce. Served with a side of rice, the impressive serving size was a benefit.

Empanada del DiaEmpanada of the Day
Chorizo, olives & portobello mushrooms

I really, really didn’t want this plate to end. It was a carnivore’s dream with spicy chorizo paired beautifully with black and green olives and portobello mushrooms- two ingredients who’s texture is equally as meaty. The amazing filling aside, the pastry was the star of the show here, as it was both slightly flaky and tender, with a lingering buttery finish.

Though we contemplated dessert, I was just too full to put in an order. I left Pipa with a belly full of warm pastry and bold red wine- a lovely end to a crisp autumn night out.

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