When Tinkerbell (yes, that was her real name) called to confirm my booking at Peasants Feast, I knew this was going to be no ordinary dinner. She told me too bring my own wine and why not bring my own plate and cutlery too if I wanted. Although she (he?) was joking, this is the kind of laid back attitude you can expect at Peasants Feast. A little off-the-wall, but refreshing.
Peasants Feast is Sydney’s only organic restaurant, in (you guessed it) Newtown. Run by Dr. Robert Warlow, a clinical immunologist, allergist, immunopathologist and medical researcher, who wanted to create a food haven that provided healthy food which prevented diseases. I won’t go in to the details of the humanitarian and scientific core values behind their food philosophy, but you can read them all here.
The website claims their food is “Low in salt and sugar, completely free of artificial chemicals and synthetically altered fats. They specialise in allergy free foods which exclude wheat, gluten, dairy, egg, nut, soy, salicylates amines” (I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds bad…?) “and monosodium glutamate”.
I hope I haven’t lost you already - there are still plenty of tasty things to enjoy! The menu is extensive, which might be my only criticism. There’s nothing worse than forgetting half of what you’ve read before you’ve even reached its end. Luckily I’m armed with some recommendations from Sis and Yoko, who’ve sent me here.
My first visit is with B2B who’s about to leave Sydney for her new home in Signet, Tasmania. We always over order when we’re together, but we figure this is a last-supper of sorts and with all the bad stuff taken out here, we’re doing ourselves a favour by eating really.
We’re not in tow of any organic wine tonight so it’s Organic Lemonade and Ginger Beer ($3.80) to drink.
I’m told I “must” try the Vegetarian crepe. Filled with pumpkin, roasted almonds, feta cheese, herbs and spices. Served in an Italian tomato sauce, rich in garlic to vanquish illness ($12) and Yoko’s favourite, Spinach Parcel. Tender green silverbeet leaves surround a mouth-watering filling of roasted zucchini, almonds and cous cous. The parcel is bedded on a white bean puree with or without lemon yoghurt *vegan friendly ($19).
The spinach parcel looks like it’s been folded lovingly and the white bean puree is light and delicious. A generous serving size, I’d be happy with just this for a main meal next time. The crepe is equally as good and to be honest, I wondered how much of a difference the absence of all these so-called ‘baddies’ would affect the overall taste of the food. But flavour definitely hasn’t been sacrificed here and it feels good to know that what I’m enjoying eating is doing my body good too.
I’m deeming Stefano’s raw salad; Grated raw carrot & beetroot served with apple wedges and almonds drizzled with chilli, ginger, tamari & white wine dressing with a hint of orange zest ($12.50) the ‘chicken soup’ for colds, but in salad form. Bright and refreshing with some serious sinus clearing heat from the ginger and chilli. Yum.
B2B and I are planning a hypothetical road trip around Texas before thinking about dessert and without hesitation, we order two. The Chocolate, banana, coconut milk & almond frozen slice ($12) tastes exactly like the “healthy chocolate Paddle Pops” I make at home (I’ll post a recipe for it soon) and the Creme Brulee ($12) – I probably could have done without this. To top it all off, some Planet Organic Detox Tea ($3.50).
A couple of weeks later and I’m back here, this time upstairs in the function space for Yoko’s birthday. It does look a bit like the place where rattan baskets come to die - with hundreds of them hanging on the bare brick walls, intertwined with some fake greenery and below them a woven Afghani rug straight from the 70s – all of this just adds to the quirky charm of the place.
As Sis is ordering the Potato gnocchi with lamb; Light & airy potato dumplings drenched in a Napoli tomato & basil sauce, served with pieces of organic lamb, chilli, olives and pecorino cheese ($15) that I enjoyed last time – the lightest pillowy dumplings with their signature tomato sauce and melt-in-your mouth pieces of lamb - I try to do a deal with her to share it with me if I get the duck.
Bob (The Builder) has the Crispy Pork Belly (chemical free) served with creamy spinach polenta ($19). It looks very fatty, and he tells me it is but he has no problem finishing it.
Perhaps it was a conversation about my impending trip to Morocco that prompted me to order the Luv a Duck free range duck with four spice Morrocan cabbage stew and baked ginger apple ($19) but it arrives looking far more provincial than Moroccan. It’s enormous - too much for me to finish - so I give Bob its leg. The apple doesn’t look the prettiest but it was every so slightly soft, warm and sweet.
You can only see a glimpse of the fabulous Ginger and Smart dress D has on tonight. We talk about travel and a design course she’s doing, oh and did I mention she bakes? The marriage of our little brothers to two sisters, means we’re kinda related – I love this. There’s just something so effortlessly cool about her.
D’s ’Hot Pot’ Beef Stifado, which is a sweet and sour slow roasted delicacy from Greece. A rustic dish with the flavours of fetta, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, red wine and vinegar served with crusty potato mash ($19) finally arrives looking more like a little Shepherds pie. She tells me it “did the trick” but is embarrassed to be photographed next to it…
At this point I realise it really is about ordering the right things here – go with some recommendations or stick to the starters on the menu. For homely, ethically and health conscious food that’s not lacking in flavour, give Tinkerbell a call.
Peasants Feast - 121A King Street, Newtown NSW 2042 – 02 9516 5998