Simple, fresh, delicious. This is the philosophy adopted at Peel Street by owners Ben McLeod, Jordan Theodoros and Martin Corcoran. This popular restaurant, named (quite simply) after the street it is located on, is a jewel in the reinvigoration of the city and laneway culture in Adelaide’s West End.
After Jordan completed his apprenticeship under Lew Kathreptis at Mezes and then worked for David Thompson at Darley Street Thai in Sydney, he travelled to Burma, China and India. Inspired by his travels, he returned rejuvenated to South Australia as Head Chef at the Melting Pot. Here he met Ben, who had more than 20 years experience in the industry.
And so the pair went on to open Aquacaf in coastal Goolwa together. After some time they moved on and Martin joined them as the second Head Chef in the collaboration for a city venue incorporating their diverse food experiences.
The food at Peel Street is inspired by an abundance of fresh South Australian seafood and the best ingredients available. Fresh herbs and vegetables and anything in season that hangs over a fence are the basis for inspired and delicious food. The dishes created are rustic and plated to share.
With a mantra of “bringing you the food we eat at home”, the food is generous, abundant and buzzing with robust flavours. Offering a ‘concrete menu’ for small bites and a floor to ceiling ‘blackboard menu’ for larger dishes, the menu changes constantly reflecting the seasons and availability of produce but keeps a strong tie to the Middle East and Asia.
For smaller plates think along the lines of banana blossom chicken, chilli jam and coconut salad with peanuts and crispy shallots; or hummus with minced lamb, pomegranate, garlic yoghurt, mint and almonds. The larger dishes might feature a salad of crispy fried snapper wings, chilli lime sambal, betel leaves, yam beans and pineapple, or something more traditional like Nahm Dtok – Thai grilled beef, roasted rice and chilli dressing, with apple eggplant, grilled shallots and mint.
Keen to respect what they have done in the past but not wanting to be governed by it, the hero dish from Aquacaf, the Mulloway Pastie, makes appearances on the menu from time to time.
The wine list is extensive, showcasing local produce and a number of carefully chosen international wines.
Exposed bricks and beams, warm recycled wooden panels and large windows provide a striking industrial interior. The room has a great feel with a burst of colour from the re-badged iconic 1950s Bernard Villemot Orangina poster on the back wall. Guests share in the buzz of the kitchen, an open space located behind an imposing long concrete and timber bar. The atmosphere is lively, casual, relaxed and warm.
Peel Street is the ideal venue for functions, cocktail parties and corporate events. Jordan and Martin like to feed large groups in a communal style, bringing the food out in waves and serving a range of delicious flavours, using the freshest produce that is the best of the season.