Eats, chews and leaves: The Clay Pigeon is worth a shot

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On the corner of Blanshard Street and Broughton Street lies a tiny yet delightful bistro, The Clay Pigeon. For those enamoured of cuisine, like myself, or for those who simply enjoy a good meal in an eclectic space, The Clay Pigeon delivers.

The compact restaurant works hard to appear large despite small square footage. My friend and I sat at the counter facing the street — an excellent people-watching perch, but somewhat awkward for eating and conversing. The counter also offers an ideal eavesdropping position, but shhh; you didn’t hear it from me.

For my appetizer, I sprang for the fried green olives ($9). Those briny green orbs are my snacking vice, so I couldn’t pass on a deep-fried version that is stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in Berkshire pork (a type of sausage) and then panko crusted and fried. Served on a bed of pickled onion, they packed a pungent, salty bite. A must-order for fellow olive addicts.

My friend tucked into the shaved beet salad ($11). Presentation must be noted, as thin slices of beet were layered in a circular pattern on the plate and adorned with pistachio, blue cheese, orange zest and greens. She left not one slice of beet behind. This salad nails the sweet and salty combination, both the beets and blue cheese playing their parts perfectly.

I enjoyed the tuna niçoise salad ($15) as a main. I’ve always been a fan of the deconstructed salad, and The Clay Pigeon’s version lived up to my expectations. A bed of greens lightly dressed in a fennel vinaigrette is surrounded by cold, smoked albacore tuna, sliced potato, a hard-boiled egg, thin slices of radish and cucumber, and olive tapenade. Each ingredient comes pure — no added seasoning or spice. The salad is both light and filling. For those who enjoy lots of toppings on salad, the tuna niçoise is the perfect choice.

With our consciences untouched by guilt after a meal of salad, my friend and I indulged our every dessert fantasy with deconstructed s’mores ($7). We were presented with a stack of house-made marshmallows, lightly toasted from a blowtorch, three mini Nutella cookies and a pot of hot chocolate sauce that was ideal for dipping, dunking, pouring or drinking. It’s a sinful end to any meal.

The marshmallows and chocolate sauce left me wanting more of their sweet beginning and slightly salty aftertaste. The cookies, while tasty, were so hard that biting into one left me fearing for my teeth. Nonetheless, you should try the lot, especially if you only stop in for dessert.

I found the service haphazard at times. We had to ask for cutlery, and our server visited our table less and less throughout the night.

Even if the food doesn’t spark your interest, perhaps the décor will. Artwork features animals dressed as humans.

Should you find yourself on the corner of Blanshard and Broughton, The Clay Pigeon deserves a visit.

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