‘Old Money’: That’s the phrase used to describe Kyle Bay, a small waterfront pocket on the Georges River known for its mansions and well kept gardens, not its culinary offerings.
However, nestled in the middle of a four shop commercial strip is Peacock Trattoria, a casual eatery with an ambitious kitchen.
When I made the booking several weeks ago, I was told by a British accent (maybe chef James Watson?) how “don’t worry, there are many customers like you.” This remark was in response to my apology at changing the booking from 5 people to 8 and from February 18 to February 25 over two separate phone calls.
Brash maybe? But refreshingly cheeky and down to earth, which is the feeling you get upon entering the dimly lit room with its jumbled sense of style: Exposed wooden beams, brick walls, multi-coloured chairs and a giant peacock mural.
Chefs James Watson and Drew Corbel, a duo formerly of Balmain’s award-winning gastro-pub the Riverview Hotel, have created a menu that reflects the restaurant’s motto: “It’s all about the food.”
We opt for the $60 “trust the chef” menu, which includes six courses of the chef’s choice starting tonight with the anchovy, potato and rosemary pizetta.
A sneaky second course was a bite-sized mackerel popsicle, which was followed by the famed crispy duck, nectarine, watercress and hazelnut & witlof salad (regularly $19).
This salad was well-balanced with the acidity of the vincotto dressing, the buttery hazelnuts, sweet/ tangy nectarines and rich duck. Certainly a recipe I will try to replicate at home (with some luck).
So far, so good and to boot, the service was friendly and attentive without the snootiness of some inner city trend spots. This made the long walk outside, down the hill, to the bathroom a quirky feature of the restaurant, rather than a burden.
Possibly a blessing in disguise given the decadence of the food yet to hit the table. First up was the creamy gorgonzola stuffed baked fig wrapped in serrano ham (reg. $19). Once again, the flavours played out perfectly in this dish proving the thought and pride peacock trattoria’s chef’s put into their food.
Coming towards our fifth course, and having already experienced the generous portion sizes, I knew I would need a strong digestive to make room in my stomach.
Sure enough, our final main course was veal tenderloin with a corn and potato fritter, salsa verde and bone marrow jus and I made sure to squeeze in every last bite.
Finishing off with a small parfait dish filled with coconut panna cotta and peaches was the proverbial cherry on top. My partner in crime had troubles with this dish, for with every attempt to scoop up a taste, the small parfait dish would overflow. Not to worry, the waitress quickly replaced his slightly melted dessert with one more user-friendly.
Colourful would be a good word to describe the Peacock Trattoria. From its charming interior to its quietly ambitious menu, this restaurant is a vibrant addition to sleepy Kyle Bay.