PITCHFORK RESTAU­RANT

SET­TING THE BENCH­MARK FOR QUAL­ITY DIN­ING

Life & Style Weekend - - FOOD & WINE -

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.

Clean­li­ness

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.

Pre­sen­ta­tion

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.

Ser­vice

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.

Food

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.

Wine list

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.

Value

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

PHO­TOS: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

AT­TEN­TION TO DE­TAIL: Pitchfork Restau­rant in Pere­gian Beach, with owner and head chef Craig Galea.

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