There is something to be said for elegant, intimate dining. Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a business lunch, Peacock and Jones is classy and discreet.
The restaurant is in the heart of the tourist precinct – the Rocks of Hobart, at the eastern end of the IXL complex. It is the latest restaurant from the Federal Group.
Inside the restaurant seats 20-something people along the exposed colonial brick, circa 1823, one of the oldest remaining ol’ Hobart town wall. Dinners are aware of the workings of the open, central kitchen as it goes about its quiet business alongside them. Additional seating can be found in the atrium outside.
The brains trust is front of house manager, Emma Devlin and head chef, Jeff Workman.
Emma and Jeff filled This Girl in a little on Peacock and Jones and told me that Jeff has worked as senior chef at the prestigious Saffire Freycinet for the last three years and did his training in hatted establishments in Sydney.
The Lovely Deputy and This Girl had date night at Peacock and Jones one Saturday recently.
We started on house made bread and butter with leek ash – the leek was used with the meat of the day too. It made me think about chef Rene Redzepi from NOMA and how he talks about going ‘deep into the ingredient’.
Jeff told me that at Peacock and Jones, their desire to use every part of the produce is as much about showing respect for food and not being wasteful as it is about efficiency.
“We do try to be mindful of this, whether it is protein or vegetables, bones from whole cuts are always turned into stocks and sauces where vegetable trimmings can also be used up, the buttermilk from our churned butter is used as our house salad dressing or even used in desserts, it is enormously satisfying to turn nothing into something,” Emma said.
The other thing I noticed was the young, professional service so I asked Emma what does good service mean to Peacock and Jones?
“We recruited our front of house team based on personality and character, rather than skills and experience. It was risky given we opened a brand new restaurant the week before Christmas so everyone was thrown in to the deep end, but it’s turned out to be one of the best decisions we could have made. To our mind, good service means genuine engagement between our team and guests, through sharing the stories of our food and wine and getting excited about it together! "To have a crew that is passionate about the local produce scene is more important to us than to have a crew that’s spent years in the industry and has all of the intricacies of service down-pat … you can teach one, but not the other,” she said.
I’ve been eating plates to share so much lately I’d forgotten how nice it was to eat a three course meal.
Nduja, grilled sourdough, pumpkin, pinenuts, rocket and percorino
Raw fish with daily garnishes
Market fish, on this occasion Kingfish served with shitake and greens
Huon Valley sirloin on the bone, smoked eel butter, braised leek
Nduja is a spreadable pork sausage and it gave a real warmth to this open sandwich. I ordered it as an entrée but its size is befitting a light lunch.
Both mains were as read –beautifully cooked, presented and delicious.
Dessert was a dense, nut-meal based cake surrounded by three milk based ingredients rather than milk-soaked cake as per the Mexican tradition. It was a pleasant contemporary take on an old favourite of mine.
Dinner was around $170 for two people (including a bottle of Rose).
Peacock and Jones promise an ever changing menu with a local produce.
They’re open Monday to Saturday 12 noon – 10 pm. Make a reservation on 1800 375 692.