Pea is for pleasing in Braddon

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WHAT’S in a name? Who knows, but I do know that the “pea” part of The Elk and Pea, a venue that opened on Lonsdale Street in “happening Braddon” before Christmas, doesn’t represent the delightful, small, round, green vegetable. Rather it’s short for the stunningly elegant peacock.

And, you guessed it, you will see a peacock (stuffed, of course) and elk heads (stuffed, of course) as main elements of the décor in this “eating house”.

The Elk and Pea... décor features many eccentric items. Photo by Silas Brown
The Elk and Pea… décor features many eccentric items. Photo by Silas Brown
The Elk and Pea is the latest venture of Bria Sydney (Parlour and Knightsbridge Penthouse) and chef Nick Parkinson.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it now has its liquor licence and martini lovers are catered for from 8am (breakfast martini and an espresso tequila martini are $16).

I’ve been a couple of times and welcome refinements such as tablecloths outside (table surfaces used to get painfully hot under the sun) and a refreshed menu that is not so “bread heavy”.

Back to the pea – green, vegetable type. I ordered the “Peas and Q”, a refreshing summer salad created with quinoa (all the rage), roast tomato, Persian feta, rocket, peas and basil vinaigrette ($15). It was good value and oh-so-very-healthy. My friend’s slow-braised goat enchilada, wrapped in soft, corn tortillas ($16), was a bit small to be sufficiently filling, but high on taste.

Other salads include a chicken and mango with coconut dressing ($16). Meals to share feature mushrooms and maize, with crunchy panko and almond-crumbed cactus ($24). The flamed ground beef and pimento chicken-breast burgers sound yummy, also (both $16).

On a hot day ceviche would go down well – lime-marinated kingfish, pickled jalapeño, corn crisps and radish ($15), and I will return for the Caribbean jerk chicken, so famous for its pack-a-punch flavour ($26).

Jerk chicken.
Jerk chicken.
The décor features many eccentric items, but I’m not convinced it works as a whole. The long stretch of peacock-blue bench seating is too high for the accompanying tables. Although a shorty, I felt tall compared to my dining companion on the opposite side of our table. And the high, wooden, communal table seems awkward (we watched gangly lads trying to get comfy, to no avail).

The birdcage in the middle of the room is playful and, when in the back near the open-concept kitchen, look up – way, way up – and explore the paintings, many framed in carved, gold gilt.

The wine list has some lovely drops. Service is decent, although I could do without watching staff munch on their lunch behind the bar while I’m waiting for water and a menu.

Overall, I like The Elk and Pea. And congrats for opening weekends – Braddon doesn’t have a whole lot of choice on Sundays.

The Elk and Pea, 21 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Open seven days. 6162 0222.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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