Lucy in the Larder

Lunch at John & Peter Canteen (Carriageworks, Eveleigh)

Today is a working lunch at John and Peter Canteen with Makybe Diva (she’s requested this name), Cute-as-a-button and the Doctor Who girls.

John and Peter Canteen is the dining arm of John and Peter’s expanded catering business. I’ve enjoyed many of their canapés at functions over the years so I’m excited to finally be dining here. The last time I tried to book they were closed for renovations and part of me wishes I’d seen the ‘before’ to appreciate the ‘after’, but here we go anyway…

I love the rustic old railway workshop space at Carriageworks, but I’m not a fan the new look of John and Peter Canteen. It’s fresh and I like the way it’s set up – a raised square white wooden floor acts as the dining area with bench seating around the edge and round white dining tables in various sizes. I get they’ve had to make a large space their own within the heritage listed Carriageworks building but white fringing hanging from a scaffold frame and studio lights? Yes they look pretty blowing in the breeze that’s gracing us today but it’s so… um, I don’t know. I’m not keen on the monochrome soft furnishing either… hmmm, maybe I’m missing something, but it’s just feels so dated. Yes I know BKH designed the space referencing 1970s domesticity with strong black and white graphic patterns in the form of Marimekko and Fornasetti prints on cushions, but I don’t know… it’s just too much. I’m distracted by it all.I did say working lunch, so it’s softies all around to drink, and for me – Limoncello. To start we’re all sharing the Rosemary foccacia ($4); Sage and anchovy fritters ($8); Asparagi con cacao e pepe ($14); Baked brown onions, burrata ($18) and Turkey, zucchini, green olives, parsley ($18).

I’ve already eaten a handful of the garlic fried butter beans that we’re left to nibble on while we wait… yum.After some coaxing from Makaybe Diva I try the fritters… but they just confirm my dislike for an anchovy, in any form.  All I can taste is fatty fried fishyness. The asparagus looks a little unappealing on the plate but tastes good. I like the turkey salad – it’s simple, different and I might just steal the idea for a protein packed salad at lunch this week. Now, the burrata that’s strategically placed closest to me at the table, is what I’m really excited about (yes, anything with cheese please) and I’m not disappointed. It’s peppery and creamy but I’m left hanging for some crusty bread to mop up the lovely oniony, cheesy juices.

I still can’t put my finger on why I hate the fringing hanging above me so much… fish and chip shop?? No, that’s not it.I’m going with the Roast pork belly, braised fennel, salsa verde ($30) for a main and we’re sharing the Polenta chips ($8). The pork is succulent and the crackling super crunchy but the flavour of the stuffing is so overpowering… every mouthful, that’s all I can taste and I don’t end up finishing it all (highly unusual for me). I’ll just fill up on some yummy polenta chips…

We seem to be the only ones dining today, aside from a man enjoying a coffee over in the corner which leaves the space feeling very sterile. Perhaps a few more bodies would give it a bit of warmth and colour. The monochrome decor – although fresh and a perfect for displaying food – is just too cold in a building that has so much character and history.Still hungry too, Cute-as-a-button insists on ordering the Bruschetta, taleggio dolce latte ($15) for us (he can come to lunch with me anytime!). It looks a little like a science experiment when it arrives and I’m left with the tricky honours of divvying it up. The bread is so well toasted and hard that I need to take a good stab at it… but it’s cheese, so I’m happy.Dessert – not for everyone – but one of the Doctor Who girls next to me wants the Gianduja gelato, praline ($12) and there’s no question what I want “Deep fried custard please”, Crema fritta, vanilla gelato, chestnut honey ($15), so we agree to share.

They both arrive looking spectacular as the rest of the table looks on with sweet envy. The fried custard is a little on the burnt side, but it still tastes deliciously rich and creamy and I like the chestnut infused honey. Admittedly I did have to ask our waitress what flavour ‘Gianduja’ was (a sweet chocolate containing about 30% hazelnut paste) and it’s the yummiest gelato I have ever tasted, like a rich frosty nutty chocolate mud… we can’t get enough.

That fringing is still bothing me…

John and Peter Canteen – 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh NSW 2015 – 02 8571 9004


This entry was published on February 23, 2012 at 9:16 am. It’s filed under Lucy's plate, Restaurant reviews, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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