Monday, February 17, 2014

All peachy at Miss Peaches Soul Food Kitchen

In a sign of the ongoing rejuvenation of not-so-grungy-anymore Newtown, there's a new head chef at the relatively new Miss Peaches Soul Food Kitchen, perched above the recently renovated Marlborough Hotel.

Young chef Hamish Francis-Martin comes from Chippendale's Freda's and before that, Bloodwood, Bodega and Porteño.

The bar at Miss Peaches Soul Food Kitchen, Missenden Road, Newtown
It's some serious pedigree heading up the busy kitchen that pumps out 'soul food' – that Southern American brand of comfort food that isn't necessarily healthy, but sure can be craving-inducing.

There are plenty of dishes on the summer menu at Miss Peaches that bring a smile to my belly, including po' boys, fried chicken and mac and cheese.

Colourful seating
Miss Peaches occupies a fantastic and large upstairs space, decorated and themed to the max. With colourful seating, brick walls with vintage branding, Edison globes and retro signs everywhere, it's a fun blend of (probably stereotypical) Americana with Sydney pop style.

Wall decor and seating

Table place number

Mississippi Sour (left) and Watermelon Ruby Fizz (right)
We started with cocktails from a page filled with fun names, ingredients and concoctions. The cooling Watermelon Ruby Fizz was perfect for the humid evening featuring a house-made watermelon soda shaken with Tanqueray gin, sloe gin and lemon juice.

The Mississippi Sour, served cutely in a not-vintage jar, was a stronger but still sweet cocktail with Laird's applejack, lemon juice, bitters and a honey ginger syrup.

Sarsaparilla glazed fried chicken pieces
It wasn't long at all before our Southern feast began to arrive, starting with two pieces of fried chicken that easily rivalled the Colonel's.

The chicken drumstick and thigh portions were both mouthwateringly juicy and crunchy in a spiced batter, with a light Sarsaparilla glaze that added sweetness and a new dimension to southern fried chicken.

The side order of macaroni and cheese arrived early in the game and disappeared from the oval dish as quickly as it arrived.

The soft pasta was rich with a smooth sauce of gruyere, cheddar and parmesan cheeses and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and chives, it was about as perfect a rendition as imaginable, only improved with Miss Peaches' house hot sauce.

Bug pies - Moreton Bay bug tails and creamed corn in puff pastry 
Perhaps a close substitute for crawfish, I was not going to miss the shellfish action of the Moreton Bay bug pie.

Bug pie innards
Resembling an empanada, the oily puff pastry casing was filled with a creamy, not spicy mix of corn and small pieces of bug flesh which were delightfully sweet. Though a little light on bug flesh, the overall "pie" was a moreish few mouthfuls which I’d happily have again and again.

Shrimp po' boy - beer and butter braised shrimp with fennel slaw on brioche
I was hanging out for some po' boy action – fried seafood in a roll is certainly drinking food to me. However, it seems in the menu update the "shrimp" had transformed from a battered and fried option, to being braised in beer and butter.

Generous with whole prawns and served with a fennel slaw in a soft brioche roll, the overall po' boy didn't lack flavour but it didn't have the naughty crunch I was looking for in what I think was my first ever po' boy.

Shrimp clemenceau'd - prawns, BBQ corn, roast kipflers, swiss browns, king browns, citrus and sage
Listed in the salads section, the shrimp clemenceau'd resembled the contents of a seafood boil with whole prawns, boiled potatoes and fresh corn from the cob, tossed with sections of king brown mushrooms and orange segments.

Garnished with fresh dill and chives, it was certainly not a traditional salad but proffered some interesting, relatively clean flavours.

Spice blackened fish fried with lightly pickled cucumber and red pepper salad
From the larger main-sized dishes, the black spice-coated barramundi fillet is excellent value in the mid-teens as it's an entire, petite, healthy and fresh main meal.

The black-surfaced grilled fish was packed with not particularly discernable flavours and went surprisingly well with ribbons of pickled cucumber, while the barely spicy jalapeño ranch sauce brought a welcome, creamy note to the dish.

Scallop gumbo
With two options for the house signature of gumbo, we elected the seafood choice topped with three grilled scallops.

The thick, spiced tomato-based soup was a shallow bowl of discovery: first, soft okra slices and other diced vegetables, then white rice in the bottom of the well-balanced soupy dish garnished with fresh coriander, dill and chives.

DJ booth
By 8.00pm the bar was absolutely pumping with Saturday night drinks orders while food continued to fly out of the kitchen.

With the DJ in full party swing and the crowd at peak volume, the window booth seats are probably best for diners, while drinkers flock to the outdoor balcony looking out onto Missenden Road.

Outdoor balcony
It seems the only constant in Newtown is change, but with soul-warming food and drink offerings at Miss Peaches, it's all peachy for now.

Food, booze and shoes dined at Miss Peaches Soul Food Kitchen as a guest.

Miss Peaches on Urbanspoon


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Ooh sarsparilla fried chicken sounds intriguing!

Priscilla @ said...

i love the sound of the fried chicken - rivals the colonel you say. As well as the sound of the mac n cheese! I'm always on the hunt for a good one!

chocolatesuze said...

sarsparilla is my fave drink so that fried chicken sounds absolutely amazing!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

The food sounds really interesting. I've heard mixed reviews of this place but I do love sarsparilla!

Anonymous said...

Hard to remove the image in my mind of Newtown as a bit seedy & very gritty :) This place looks fab [loving the old records used as table numbers]

Sophia (Fashimi) said...

Let's be honest... I pretty much want to eat everything here.

Annie said...

this is one of those restaurants where i don't really get the urbanspoon rating. enjoyed the Southern USA cuisine and it's a great place to catch up with friends for drinks. maybe it's just me lol

Tina said...

Hi Helen - It was fab, so juicy and tasty!

Hi Priscilla - Yep, they were my two favourites of the lot :)

Hey suze - Really? I actually don't like sarsaparilla... But loved the chicken still.

Hi Lorraine - I noted the mixed reviews too, but glad I came out on the 'like' side.

Hi thehungrymum - Oh no... You can barely find the seediness now for all the hipsters and yuppies!

Hi Sophia - Mmmm, and there was still more on the menu I wanted to try..!

Hi Annie - Yeah, can't always trust what you see online ;) I thoroughly enjoyed the food :)


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