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Andy Lynes

The Peasant

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Snails with chestnut puree, crispy kale and quail's egg is possibly one of the strangest dishes I have seen listed on a gastro pub menu. The fact that The Peasant’s head chef Giancarlo Vatteroni has worked with the nabob of unusual grub, Peter Gordon, goes some way to explaining its presence. I didn’t order it, but did get a small taste which was quite enough for me. Call me reactionary, but garlic and parsley butter, as unadventurous as that may sound, would have been a more successful pairing than the chestnut, which just seemed to bang heads with the snails.

The decor of the Peasants upstairs dining room is cobbled together, albeit in a studied sort of way, from circus memorabilia which I have to assume is a passion of owners Gregory and Patrick Wright as I don’t think the site has any connections with that particular branch of show business. I found it a bright, attractive space in a busy and bohemian sort of way, although all it received from my dining companion was a disapproving look.

Which is pretty much what I gave my oily and overdressed braised globe artichoke salad with baby capers, flat leaf parsley and black olives starter. It’s the sort of simple dish that an inexperienced commi should be able to get right without too much trouble, so to get a poorly prepared version of it in a near empty dining room (i.e. the kitchen was not under pressure) was a big disappointment.

A main course of monkfish and prawn spiedini (brochette) came with an overpoweringly sweet sauce and overcooked fish. Two “fondant” potatoes appeared to have been boiled and looked a bit sad and out of place on the plate. Smoked paprika roast pork fillet with new potatoes, bok choi and mango kasaiundi (and before you ask, no, I’ve got no idea) was a more successful dish and enjoyed by its recipient.

A good dessert of rhubarb and custard was a hit, as was a plate of homemade fudge. Service was friendly and efficient. Three courses here will set you back around 25.00 and wines start at a very reasonable 11.70. The pub is a nice place for a beer or two, but overall, The Peasant is not a patch on places like The Gun or The White Swan.

Pub website

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Ugh. The mouth feel of snails and chestnut puree? Is the management counting on half-blotto diners?


I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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I can usually be relied on to be half-blotto the majority of the time, but it was lunchtime and I had an annual general meeting to attend that afternoon. I made up for it at Menu that evening though.

I ate at The Peasant quite a few weeks ago yet that mouthful haunts me still.

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Ugh.  The mouth feel of snails and chestnut puree?  Is the management counting on half-blotto diners?

It works for Heston with the snail porridge - very similar textures I'd have thought.

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Noseying at the menu I saw 'Smoked eel on Butter Bruschetta'

That would be buttered toast then?


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Round and round. Carla Tomasi was the Peasant's opening head chef. Before that she had the wonderful Frith's in Frith St where Peter Gordon was her sous chef for a while. He never seems to mention his time at Frith's though, I don't know why. Another of Carla's proteges Tom Norrington Davies, Eagle stalwart and now writing for the Saturday Telegraph, is rather more generous.

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Round and round. Carla Tomasi was the Peasant's opening head chef. Before that she had the wonderful Frith's in Frith St where Peter Gordon was her sous chef for a while.

Very interesting - do you know when this was? Is Frith's still there, I have to admit its a name that completely passed me by. And what is Carla up to now?

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Round and round. Carla Tomasi was the Peasant's opening head chef. Before that she had the wonderful Frith's in Frith St where Peter Gordon was her sous chef for a while.

Very interesting - do you know when this was? Is Frith's still there, I have to admit its a name that completely passed me by. And what is Carla up to now?

Carla had to close Frith's in the early nineties, forced out by greedy landlords who kept pushing up the rent. Garlic and Shots took over the site. Eventually Carla went back to Rome where she does the Cookery School thing along with Alistair Little & various other luminaries

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