Wednesday, February 15, 2012

John and Peter Canteen

Started out as a lunch time pop-up venue, John and Peter Canteen quickly took up permanent residence at CarriageWorks. Its black and white chic decor is a complete contrast to the bare concrete and steel converted railway workshop complex it resides in, but it is that contrast that makes it a very cool venue to dine in. The black and white theme flows from tables and chairs to banquets and cushions; white streamers and hanging theatre lights overhead, complete with a massive crane reaching across the length of the restaurant. Love it. 

The menu is Italian, and by that I mean it is written in Italian. If you are like me, and probably most of the diners there, don't speak a word of Italian, let alone reading it, flag down one of the waiters and ask. There is nothing embarrassing about getting them to explain the menu. If a restaurant presents you with a non-English menu in an English speaking country, they expect you to ask.

The wine list consists of mostly Italian wines, there are two pages of bottled wines to select from; but if you want to go by the glass, then your choice is limited. Cocktails and boutique beers are also on the menu for the non wine drinkers.

Roast Pork Belly
For entrée, our waiter recommended the Asparagi con cacio e pepe, which is asparagus served with a classic pecorino (Italian cheese made from sheep's milk) and pepper sauce. It might not sound very tempting but I have to say I was surprised by its delectable flavours and it was easily my favourite dish on the night. As for the Smoked eel, fennel, parsley, I found the smokiness of the eel overpowering and as a result I could barely taste the fennel. For main, my friend had the Pollo alla diavola, a quarter of generously seasoned roasted chicken served with roasted potatoes; while I went for the Roast pork belly, braised fennel, salsa verde, the meat was tender and skin crackling, just the way it should be. We also ordered Green beans, garlic as a side dish, which was a top choice as the beans were crisp and delicious.

Unfortunately we underestimated the dinning time, after our mains we only had 15mins to spare before the start of Thyestes. Having been told there is a complete lockout we had no choice but to give the dessert a miss. I did have my eyes on the Baked white peach, amaretto, amaretti, but it'll have to wait till next time.

A perfect place for pre-theatre dinner, John and Peter Canteen serves up some great dishes; with its simple and clean presentation you can focus all your attention on the flavours of the ingredients. It would be nice if the menu had English for dishes with not-so-obvious Italian names, but perhaps getting the waiters to explain the menu to you is part of the dinning experience.


John and Peter Canteen: 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh, NSW 2015  JOHNANDPETER Canteen on Urbanspoon

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