Some restaurants have a warehouse ‘feel’ or ‘vibe’ however Johnandpeter Canteen literally is in a warehouse. The old Eveleigh Rail Yard’s workshop has been converted into an area that is now used for the increasingly popular Saturday Eveleigh Farmers Markets and the inside theatre space hosts performances such as dance and drama. And now, it is home to the beautiful Johnandpeter Canteen.
The vision for the CarriageWorks site was to create an “artistic hub” and on entering the glass doors into the building, this theme is evident. The restaurant’s space is not bound by walls but rather by a raised polished wooden floorboard. The original structure of the railyard workshop remains, with rusted wrought iron beams looming overhead and steel box panels protruding from the side walls. At first, the restaurant seems cold with the high ceilings and open space but as you look around and absorb the history of the building, it forces you to think about a time long ago – a time that we will never know. When people aren’t constantly connected with iPhones, Blackberrys and iPads. A time when food couldn’t be delivered via the phone and land on your door step 15 minutes later. Thinking about all this is oddly warming and comforting.
It may be called a ‘canteen’ but the formal dining setting and menu suggest otherwise. Dishes such as milk-cooked pork neck with curds and desiree mash and seared rare tuna, kohlrabi, capers and anchovy butter offer serious options for the finer-diner. However, there is also more casual meals available for takeaway with sandwiches and quiche. Whether you opt for a formal meal or otherwise, each dish screams quality. From the freshly churned anchovy butter which melts over the seared tuna, to the crisped artichoke with garlicky crushed broad beans – each component is clearly straight-from-the-sea, straight-from-the-paddock and straight-from-the-kitchen. The food is my kind of food – it’s honest, fresh and delicious.
On Wilson Street in Eveleigh inside the CarriageWorks building.