Head Chef turnover is really tricky business. They are in charge of making sure that the menu is executed properly, and equally importantly that the restaurant makes money. It IS a business after all. So when I was invited to sample Miss Peaches new menu under the direction of new head chef Adam Cremone, I knew it could really go either way.
After all, customers can taste when the chefs change, and the direction the Head Chef takes can make or break a restaurant, no matter how successful it already is.
Snacks and Sides
Cheesy Fries, $7
Mac ‘N’ Cheese, $8
Baked Brie, Rocket and Peach Salad, Toasted Cornbread, $16
Southern Fried Chicken, $4.5 per piece
Burgers and Southern Sandwiches
Fried Oyster and Smoked Duck Po’ Boy, $16
Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Andouille Sausage, $19
Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp, and a Dill and Caper Remoulade, $19
I don’t know what mixed reviews Miss Peaches had before – purely anecdotal and I’d always wondered if there was a rivalry between Hartsyard and them – but I can say that I thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed the food at Miss Peaches. There was much cheese lovin’ in the form of the Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Cheese Fries and Baked Brie, and who doesn’t love cheese covered everything*?
The Cheese Fries were especially satisfying, since I’ve been missing (I will only say this once and will never say it again) KFC cheese fries ever since I left Singapore. I don’t understand, Australia. You are a LAND OF CHEESE. How is it that cheese fries aren’t more common? Of course, Miss Peaches’ version is way more classy and the cheese is less orange, but you can’t deny that there is something so fundamentally primal when potato and cheese come together.
And let no man put asunder…
The Fried Chicken was also a baller order, especially when I didn’t even have to ask if the chicken was brined. No, the only question to ask was, “how long”. This succulent piece of poultry was the very bastion of why chicken should be brined, and with the gravy, it was just ridiculously awesome.
But the piece de resistance? The Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Andouille Sausage. If you think that it “sounds a little heavy”, well it is. It’s unapologetically starchy, heavy, meaty, smokey, satisfying and the portion is HUGE. This is probably the reason why salad eaters cop so much crap. There was something just so hedonistic about it all (I must be spending too much time in Bondi) that I squealed like a little girl inside when I dug into it. And when you consider that this is Chef Adam’s break time treat, you know you’re getting some good shiz right here.
Of course, not everything is a home run, and well, the Beignets weren’t quite on the same level for me. Maybe I’m not as much of a beignet person as I’d like to be, but there was something doughy about the way it was so tender that didn’t make my tastebuds sing. Not to say that it wasn’t a good beignet, though, because until I make the pilgrimage to New Orleans, I’m not sure that I can ever be sure.
Also, as far as Po’ boys go, this particular one wasn’t my favourite either. The elements – battered oyster, smoked duck, sauce and salad – were delicious on their own, but together? It was just a bit overwhelmed by the bread for me. It was a fantastic roll, mind you, but just not as a combo, I don’t think.
*No offence to the lactose-intolerant.
I found that even though the service was relaxed, the staff were extremely attentive. We chose to sit outside, and our plates were cleared quickly, table wiped, and we weren’t abandoned in balcony never never land. And it wasn’t just our table. Even though people came in drips and drabs, the other groups on the balcony shared the similar treatment. Everyone looked happy to be there, and as a result, service was pretty seamless.
Value for money:
A quick glance at the menu will tell you that it’s not exactly the cheapest place around, but they really do make up for it with the portions. Each side can be eaten as a main, and each main can feed more than one person. You catch my drift? Your value goes up the more people you go with, because it ensures you get the variety for your dollar, rather than being trapped with your one huge choice if you went by yourself.
Although, that also means leftovers. And there ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that.
Miss Peaches is just SO chill. But not in the antisocial sense of “Netflix and chill” (we’ve all been there) but in the “hang out with a group like they do on Friends” kinda chill. Everyone’s relaxes, and the Southern menu ensures that sooner or later, you WILL fall into a food coma and have to unbuckle your belt. I like that it’s a good mix of trendy and relaxed, and is definitely fitting in with the hip Newtown crowd.
Oh, and I know I just totally showed my age by using the word “hip”. But you know what I mean.
I don’t know what Miss Peaches was like before, but I’m glad that this was my first experience. No baggage, only food. And well executed food at that. Working with a small team, Chef Adam is involved in every step of getting the food to you, meaning that you can trust that whatever they put in front of you is of a certain standard. I really enjoy the unabashed joy (read: cheese, because cheese is love) that goes into the food – they’re not pretending to be particularly classy or healthy or authentic. It’s just good food with a Southern theme. And yes, the food without cheese is delicious too.
It was also fantastic hanging out with Chef Adam. It really gave me insight to the man behind the menu, and when someone loves food as much as he does, you know he won’t steer you wrong. I’m definitely going back to try more of that menu…and for more cheese love.