SETTING THE BENCHMARK FOR QUALITY DINING
Asmall but “just about perfect” menu, experienced staff and hands-on owners makes a Peregian Beach restaurant a benchmark for the Sunshine Coast. Pitchfork Restaurant has grown in popularity since its inception in 2010, and owners Craig and Kim Galea have kept the pristine location alive.
Ambience and appeal
There is a buzz in the village square at Peregian Beach when we arrive for our dinner. Pitchfork started off in 2010 as an almost “hole in the wall” venue and expanded in 2013 to take over the doctor’s surgery next door, allowing it to create an indoor/outdoor-feel restaurant.
The outdoor seating is well-protected and opened up during fine weather. At night, the restaurant is well-lit with warm lighting that is softened by the detailed wooden finishes on the walls and ceiling.
The canvas photo prints along the side wall are a nice touch, featuring local historic scenes. The restaurant sits on the corner of the square and has a real drop-in and visit coterie feel to it, with plenty of interaction between local diners and passers-by.
The bar and kitchen are small working areas for the staff and all are open to the restaurant. They are working spaces, so they’re inevitably cluttered, but all looking clean and well-maintained. The dining room was neat and tidy. The bathrooms were communal to the rest of the block and accessed by key around the back of the restaurant. They were as old as the building but kept clean and were easily accessible.
When Pitchfork expanded, it created a space inside that reflected the casual community and coastal location – lots of woodwork in the ceiling, walls and floors.
The rustic tabletops were set with a side plate, wine and water glasses, cutlery for one course and a fabric napkin.
Staff uniforms are themed with white shirts and grey aprons and are all neatly presented. Glassware is adequate for this style of venue and the tealights help add a warm, cosy glow.
Friendly and experienced staff help to welcome us, both on the phone when we booked and on arrival. Menus were immediately presented, water and drinks attended to and our waiter was able to help us with any questions about the menu that we had. Service was prompt and unobtrusive. Clearly there are many return customers here as we observed plenty of customers greeting staff by name which is a demonstration of good attention to detail and commitment from the staff. There were plenty of waiters working when we visited and if we needed anything, it was easy and quick to get someone to help us.
Owners Craig and Kim Galea have struck a balance on their tight and seasonal offer, with the menu split into sections. It’s great to see some items that have stayed on the menu since opening and many that change with the seasons to keep regular diners interested.
We started with an entree of fried artichokes, rocket, stracchino with vinaigrette – fresh yet rich and flavourful and an interesting mix of textures, too. Excellent plate composition added to its appeal.
For our mains, we chose the Fish of the Day served with cauliflower puree,
watercress, pancetta and truffle oil. The fish was perfectly grilled, the puree velvety in texture and the crunch of the pancetta combined with the peppery cress and decadent truffle oil made this a dish to remember. The Cape Grim char-grilled sirloin, served with wild mushroom and bone marrow jus and crispy fried potato, was cooked perfectly medium rare as requested.
We chose the signature passionfruit roulade and a caramel pannacotta for dessert, both of which were beautiful to look at and eat.
It is an appropriately succinct list that covers most popular regions, styles and varieties and hits the sweet spot in regards to most customers’ budget and preferences.
There are a couple of left-field gems in among the safe options that are worth trying on recommendation from the educated staff.
It is a reasonably priced and accessible wine list. Cocktails are simple and tasty and there is a good selection of local and imported gins available.
The quality of ingredients used and classically trained techniques demonstrated by the chefs are close to benchmark on the Sunshine Coast because of the balance achieved across all dishes. The service is friendly and professional and the food and drinks are reasonably priced. Pitchfork delivers a high-quality offering in a relaxed and friendly neighbourhood setting. Both the owners are hands-on chefs and this shows as the seasonal menu is the star here, showing excellent technique and a commitment to good quality and interesting ingredients. The menu is short, but there is plenty to choose from. Just be sure to leave room for dessert. PITCHFORK RESTAURANT Address: 5/4 Kingfisher Dr, Peregian Beach Phone: 5471 3697 Website: www.pitchforkrestaurant.com.au Opening hours: Open for lunch and dinner, seven days
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Pitchfork Restaurant in Peregian Beach, with owner and head chef Craig Galea.