I had looked forward to trying Peasant since it first opened. Always a lover of Vietnamese food, Peasant seemed to promise a modern spin on some favourites. The latest Vietnamese offerings all seemed to be so-so bowls of pho and rice paper rolls so I was curious whether this one will trump it all.
Usually dining at the other end of Dominion Road, I didn’t expect the interior to be so trendy. Think urban chic: bare light bulb fittings and a large concrete communal table as the centrepiece. The open glass walls reminded me of the glass menagerie at Rosie and a time where my friends saw me repeatedly trying to reverse my car into a space. Great for people watching/stalking.
Even when we waited over half an hour for others to arrive, the waiters were gracious and continued to refill our water glasses. In fact every time they came, a piece of me died inside because I so wanted to order. The smells of the spices from the kitchen were way too tempting.
My favourites included the crisp egg tofu which was delicious with mouthfuls of custody like texture that melted in your mouth from the crispy shell. Second, the taro chips – each piece was satisfying large with just enough salt to make them addictive without continually watering it down with a drink.
The skate wing with peanuts, dill and turmeric root was interesting. I had never tried skate before and got told it was like stingray. Maybe an emerging trend because I saw it again on the menu of The Commons. The taste and texture was like any other white fish with a mild sweet taste. This dish and the pork belly were probably the only dishes that could fill the average diner. The pork belly was satisfying in the sense it was big and crackling wasn’t chewy but it didn’t have the melt in the mouth touch.
I also ordered the stuffed loligo squid with pork, chestnut, coriander and paprika oil – admittedly to try the novelty of it. The flavours were there but the whole thing also tasted strongly of pork, something I’m not too fond of.
Overall I enjoyed eating at Peasant, the flavours were light and brought out the original flavours of the food. Something I really want to try is their pho – but that’s only available at lunch. The black sticky rice with mango and coconut is also very tempting! A caution that their dishes are small so order a side or share another dish with a friend to try out the variety.