The Elk & Pea – Preview
by The Editor
After a couple of false starts, we finally made it to The Elk and Pea – the newest venue for Bria Sydney (Knightsbridge Penthouse and Parlour Wine Room) and chef Nick Parkinson (recently returned form London). There was a brief opening on Saturday night, no action on Sunday and a ‘sandwiches only’ menu on Monday. We were intrigued as to what we might find with doors open for the first day’s trade on Tuesday.
Minimalism meets industrial chic upon entering the venue. On a polished concrete floor sits an unusually high and heavy wooden bar. It stretches almost all the way along the left hand side of the room, with long, blue bench seating opposite. The clean white walls feature black elk heads, spaced intermittently along with smoked glass downlights. A giant firehose dominates the space, growling with redness and ready for emergency.
Discreet, padded dining chairs allows diners to sit opposite bench. In almost uniform black they appear elegantly mute, however, in the playful birdcage (complete with escapee peacock) chairs in a similar style feature colourful and mismatched fabrics.
Meanwhile, in the dark recesses of the restaurant, above the diners opposite the kitchen another playful element reveals itself. If you’re one for bad art, you will delight in looking up as you make your way through a meal. Some of it is truly (although intentionally) awful.
For today’s lunch (4 December) we were presented with an interim menu as, much like a newborn elk, the kitchen makes its way gingerly on new legs. We selected a burger to share, having witnessed their generous proportion through the efforts of another diner. Ours was the Pimento Chicken Breast ($16.00) and, when it arrived, we were taken aback by the light bread. Not as imposing as it originally seemed, this would make a hearty meal for one, or a decent snack for two.
It’s a sensual experience however, we found ourselves requesting extra serviettes as the guacamole and relish combined to create a flavoursome dribble onto our hands. This is not date food, but a meal to ‘get in to’. Utterly delicious, the succulent marinated breast lifting the burger above standard fare.
Unfortunately, The Elk and Pea doesn’t yet have it’s liquor licence, although we were assured it was coming soon. For now, you’ll have to satisfy yourself with something bubbly and non-alcoholic, or head towards a coffee or tea. The coffee comes from ONA, with a single origin blend for espressos ($3.50 regular) and long blacks, with a blend selected for the milkier varieties. Hooray for the affogato – a welcome return for a hot summer ahead. Particular attention has been paid to the tea selection ($4.50 for a two person pot), with a list befitting Parlour itself. A lovely range of organic leaves from Rabbit Hole Tea Bar in slightly left-of-field combinations look both tempting and refreshing.
We’ll pop back in a week or two when The Elk and Pea is fully functioning with a complete menu and drinks. For now, it’s on a slow burn, with ample reward for anyone willing to turn a blind eye to a few unpolished edges. If you beat us to it, put your thoughts in the comments.
The Elk and Pea
21 Lonsdale St, Braddon