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Ballarat welcomes new pop-up restaurant, Peasant

Words by Richard Cornish
Images Supplied

Suppose you like the big flavours of traditional European dishes. In that case, you will be booking into Peasant, a new pop-up restaurant based in Ballarat’s historic Bank of New South Wales.

Peasant is part of the new wave of ‘small footprint’ restaurants that move into an existing site, give it a breath of fresh air, but don’t drop half a million on a big refit. Business partners are chef Doug Kerr, and maitre’d Dan Tesoriero. They perfected their modern style of old fayre at all-day diner Billy Boy Blue in Rathdowne Street, Carlton North.

Now they are offering a more refined five-course dinner service in what was the Lydiard Street Wine Bar. The dark wood panelling and cut glass chandeliers remain giving the room a slight nod towards ironic iconoclastic whilst updating the décor with dark wood tables pre-set with good cutlery and fine Plumm stemware.

Book ahead because bookings for the week close on Sunday evening prior to Friday service. Choose between the vegetarian menu or the menu with meat and fish. The menu changes weekly. Both five-course menus are priced at an excellent value $110.

“We want to prepare for as many meals as we serve only,” says Doug. He trained in the Michelin restaurants in Britain and has the skill as a chef to look at boxes of seasonal produce and write a five-course menu. “But this is a lean operation, and there is no space for wastage.”

Take a seat and look out over the historic frontage of the old mining exchange. Order a drink and start with perhaps a cheesy, rich, decadent version of Welsh rarebit made with Wensleydale custard. Following could be a creamy cod brandade with dill and lemon served in a crunchy lettuce leaf. Next might be a golden, rich, and sticky pigs trotter stuffed with chicken and black pudding served with tiny sweet broad beans. Lamb shoulder next, plated in a very modern pulled, packed, fried cylinder with a swede gratin with potatoes dressed with goat’s cheese. Finish with Bavarian curd dumpling with preserved summer plums.

If it is any gauge of the expectation building around Peasant’s opening, word on the street is that top local chefs have booked to be the first served by Dan and Doug in their hearty Ballarat pop-up.


WHAT: Peasant
WHERE: 15 Lydiard St Nth, Ballarat
WHEN: Open Now

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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