Published on January 29th, 2014 | by Ann Rickard0
Pitchfork Restaurant – Peregian
A gentle summer’s night, a busy bistro buzzing with contented diners, views over a pretty village green – the scene to greet us recently in Peregian at Pitchfork Restaurant.
Nudging the border of the village green, Pitchfork is a true neighbourhood bistro.
A modern Australian menu and laid-back Peregian Beach decor offers rustic accessibility.
As we sat down we watched a food-savvy crowd spread goat cheese with honey walnut truffle onto neat squares of toast, while others made short work of a passionfruit roulade.
Pitchfork owners Kim and Craig Galea, both local chefs with plenty of experience (Kim worked in Ricky’s kitchen in Noosa, Craig at Harvest in Coolum) achieved their goal of opening their own restaurant three years ago when they found the then small space in Peregian that was once home to Qom restaurant.
“It was a small, tight space without much ambience,” Mrs Galea said.
“But we expanded into the doctor’s surgery next door when that became vacant. We also enlarged the kitchen and gave the whole place a funky interior.”
With the indoor area spilling out to the edge of the village green and al fresco tables aplenty, there are seating options for all weather conditions.
The menu is changed every 12 weeks and kept lively with ideas the Galeas picked up in their travels, as well as during their years in kitchens.
A spiced pork scotch egg reminded us of our time living in the UK where scotch eggs were on every pub menu … although nothing like this round, zesty beauty which was quite the palate opener with its spiced crumbed pork meat encasing a hard-boiled egg.
It made a tasty lead-in to an intriguing sweet corn blini with a buffalo fetta salad and a few spears of asparagus.
We liked this take on the blini – usually a small yeasty pancake traditionally topped with smoked salmon and creme fraiche.
Some crispy eggplant chips, a few white bait fritters with aioli and we were into an easy mix-and-match scenario before getting into some serious eating with a bold dish of smoked duck breast with peaches, a few dobs of Roquefort and a scattering of pickled walnuts, all drizzled with burnt orange and caramel dressing.
A barbecued lamb back strap showed a liberal use of spice counteracted with a smooth and delicate pumpkin puree.
“We like to change the menu often for regulars,” Mrs Galea said. “There are a few dishes on the menu which we can’t take off, especially the baked goat cheese. It’s one of those dishes everyone loves.” Big dishes of beef fillet on a pea puree with mash and bacon cater for larger appetites and crispy fried fish and chips and a decadent banana split with honey whipped cream and candied pecans take care of families.
“We open at 5pm for dinner which suits a lot of families, especially with the village green where the children can play before other diners come in.”
Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available, and side dishes make excellent starters.
Happy endings don’t come any sweeter than the chocolate veloute with Florentine ice-cream, unless it’s an affogato with Frangelico.
Alternatively, some beautiful cheeses from France or Spain with fig bread, quince and muscatels would give you a fancy European finish.a