The Peasants Feast Organic Restaurant in Newtown was suggested by of a friend for a last night out before people trickle overseas for Christmas holidays. Always on the look out for restaurants she hasn’t tried, she was drawn to the menu by its European peasant food. Not only organic, Peasants Feast aims to be healthy and cater for a range of special dietary requirements. They make dishes that are gluten free, vegan, low in amines and salicylates (although these aren’t marked on the menu) and they have low GI desserts with no added sugar. Considering that this restaurant caters for vegans I was surprised to see a large selection of meat dishes. I was also excited to see that about half of the mains were gluten free, although there was only one entree option and two desserts.
The rustic decoration is nice, although the lighting was a bit dim, especially for photography. There was a big pile of organic magazines if you wanted to get in the mood. They were a bit like the ABC Organic Gardener magazine, but on a farming scale instead of a backyard one. The owner came to speak to us, so if you did have questions or wanted to discuss things with him the opportunity was available.
One concern I had was that the food would focus too much on being good for you and compromise on flavour. My doubts were quelled at the first mouthful. My beef stifado was a rich meaty hotpot topped with creamy mashed potato. The roast cherry tomatoes added a splash of colour and flavour. The meat was very tender. I was pleased to hear that many of the dishes shared this quality.
Two of our party ordered the cassoulet and were disappointed to hear there was only one left. Lots of the dishes are slow cooked in advance, which explains how this happened. The two of them came to an arrangement where they shared a cassoulet and a beef stifado. The cassoulet had duck, sausage and lamb with beans. It was a more complex dish than the hotpot. Interestingly the two sharers had opposite opinions, one preferred the diversity of the cassoulet and the other the richness of the beef.
The Moroccan chicken was a popular choice. The chicken maryland was served with brown rice, spicy broth and topped with yoghurt. The tender meat was a real hit.
The roast duck, with ginger cabbage and apple, pleased its eater. She reported that it was spicy but not too sweet, much to her relief.
Only one person had entree, a chicken soup. It was light and not too salty and served with a piece of sourdough toast.
Several of us succumbed to the low GI desserts. While these had no added sugar, some were sweetened with other things. Sugar was not completely off the menu as the organic coffee and hot chocolate drinkers were relieved to find. The bitter cocoa sprinkled on the froth was quite a shock, but once sweetened the hot chocolate was a hit.
The other drink we tried was an organic soft drink. It got a really mixed response, with some people loving it and others finding it quite a medicinal flavour. To me it tasted like a medicine I must say.
I had the citrus almond cake for dessert, and here I did feel the force of the healthy food vision. The dessert was not very sweet, with chunky almond meal and an orange syrup. I felt a little like I was eating muesli rather than dessert.
Not all the desserts had this feel to them though. You should have seen the smiles from custard girl. She looked like she was in heaven, drawing out her tasting of the creamy delight for as long as she could.
The chocolate tart was bitter and was complimented by the icecream which was sweet if a little icy.
On the whole I was impressed with the Peasants Feast. The mains were $25-30 but they were high quality. The food, particularly the mains, was rich and tasty. It wasn’t held back by its adherence to healthy organic eating.
I’ve included the philosophy they provided below.
Ratings (out of 5 snorts)