Longevity is something any restaurateur would hope to have when they first open their doors. The initial six to twelve months is generally make or break time, especially in these money pinching times. I had to think for a second when the last time was that I ate at this place,
The Peasants Feast
, at the top of King Street in Newtown. I'm sure it was fifteen years ago when the word
wasn't thrown around as much as it is today. Why has it taken this long to return? No reason other than having too many other places to eat.
The Peasants Feast prides itself on its locally sourced organic produce. Current owner, Dr. Robert Warlow, is a clinical immunologist, allergist, immunopathologist and medical researcher so you can imagine the tough guidelines the kitchen has in preparing all of the food before it makes it to the plate. Vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs are all taken care of as well as carnivores like myself with an extensive menu with a European and modern Australian flavour. There is even a seperate menu for raw vegan organic dishes.
Ignoring the seats that rival church pews for comfort and a particular waiter that probably should have stayed at home, the overall food was pretty damn good. The sips on our non-organic byo wine increased somewhat when I started tucking into the seared chicken livers as a starter. The poor little buggers were overcooked and a little arid which was a pity seeing they got so much praise on the menu for coming from "the best Oaks Organic chickens". The mound of braised lentils, carrots and chicken jus was the saving grace with its firm texture, juiciness and orange zest flavour.
The pork belly is nothing short of perfection. Gently braised and its skin crisped, served over polenta flecked with spinach. The cassoulet breaks away from the traditional with its dryer consistency, unlike the wetter ones I fell in love with in France. It's a very meaty affair loaded with firm haricot beans, pork, sausage, lamb shank and a dry duck drumstick. The crouton-like slices of bread were either gluten-free or slightly stale and really gave my jaws a workout. More wine, please?
All of the desserts at this establishment are made inhouse, some of which contain the natural sweetener xylitol which comes from the fibres of trees, fruits and vegetables. The gluten free orange and almond cake is perfectly moist and the chunks of almond are a nice touch with the yoghurt, honey and cinnamon sauce. Finally the apple, date and orange crumble (using almond) gives a slightly sour warmth with the melting vanilla bean icecream. Perhaps I won't wait another fifteen years for the next visit.