The Three Feed – Two Peas

The Three Feed
Where three people review wholefood, organic and gluten free restaurants wherever and whenever they get hungry.

Two Peas
Shop 4, 198-206 St Johns Road, Glebe
Ph: 9660 0553
http://www.twopeasrestaurant.com.au/

Angie Cowen (soul chef) Craig New (soul feeder) and Bruno Brayovic (songwriter with band Peabody) came together on a rainy Wednesday morning for some food and conversation. This is their story.

 

Two Peas crewSome time back I interviewed bands for a living (no really, I got paid a wage to do this). Listening to my own voice during the transcribing process was always quite painful, as I’ve heard it is for most people. For this month’s Three Feed (or “Three Pea” as we affectionately labeled it, in honour of our special guest), we used an iPhone to record the conversation, which has far superior recording qualities to the old cassette recorder I used to employ. This time, with crystal clear playback, there was absolutely no way to get around the fact that I always sound as though I’m speaking into a polystyrene cup, even when I’m very obviously not. As a result, I listened to very little of my own words for fear I’d puncture my own eardrum with a pen, and most of the below is from Bruno and Angie, who held by far the most intelligent portion of the conversation anyway.

 

But onto the review. Two Peas is simple. In every sense. No well planned rustic decoration, no airs, no fancy menus. Simplicity right to the core. After a few places we’ve been eating out lately (nice places, mind you), it was quite refreshing to be at a place that allowed the meal to be about the company rather than the food. That sentence looks ridiculous, flopping about on the shore of a food review, but it was something that struck me after we’d finished. Everything about Two Peas allowed us to enjoy our conversation and our company without intruding. There were no taste explosions that prompted an instant need to Instagram and tell our friends who weren’t there about it. The presentation of the meals was pretty and loving without aspiring to be artistic. One of the chefs and owners, Tom Stoneham, came out to have a chat in his apron in between cooking things for the customers, kinda like your mum would at a family barbecue (except he didn’t ask me to go and empty the bins when he came over). Our waitress was like those you see in American road movies but almost never in real life, asking us lots of questions because she was interested and telling us where we should go hang out that night. Two Peas is a little like your friend’s kitchen.

 

Baked eggsWe ordered the spicy baked beans, baked eggs and barley porridge. With the recording I didn’t bring in a pen and so I forget what each cost, but the entire meal, which also included a muffin, some teas and a juice, came to just $61 for the three of us. Angie grilled Tom on the particulars, this is what he had to say.

 

Salad“We set out from the start with ethical and sustainability being our main thing – everything from the dry store goods to the meat and veg, everything. Dry goods we get from Honest to Goodness. Meat is from Urban Food Market. Our lamb comes from Nick’s [Johnson, co-owner and chef] parents’ farm near Canberra, we also get a load of fruit and veg from their coast house near Moruya. A lot of veggies come from the grocer down the road who gets organic stuff for us through the market, and also Food Connect, we’re one of their city cousins. We use the best we can find, not just in quality but also sustainability. We’re using Alto olive oils, who aren’t certified organic but I’ve visited the farm and know their practices are all sound. We’re using Murray River sea salt, as far I’m aware it’s pretty good. Maybe that’s something I need to chase up and make sure it’s not harming the Murray River.”

 

[Editor’s note: From what I’ve just been reading now a big problem with the Murray River is that there is too much salt in it, so I would extrapolate that perhaps using salt from there is a good thing. I can’t find any reports on the process of extracting the salt being harmful, but if you have information please feel free to comment!]

 

Barley porridgeThe food was nice in a simple way. It was homey and warming and comfortable. I always feel a pressure to comment on how tasty and delicious food is in these reviews, but that’s not always what I’m craving, and in this case all those adjectives are meant in a very complimentary sense. It’s not to say the food didn’t taste good either, it did (except for their toast to be honest – the gluten free was actually very bland, and the sourdough was a touch burnt, which I don’t enjoy at all). There was just something about it that allowed us to eat and enjoy a talk without getting caught up in it. Before I knew it, the food was all gone and it was time to leave.

 

But because we had so much fun I feel it only polite to share our conversation with you – for those who were just reading to decide whether or not to go and eat there, know that you should and you can move on to the next thing now.

 

On Language

Angie: So tell me about living in France for a year.

Bruno: Sometimes I get freaked out when I do certain things, thinking ‘I used to do that all in French.’ You get used to it, obviously, then certain things you don’t even realise you’re doing in French. Some days you would be great and feel so awesome and think ‘I’ve got this!’ Then other days are all “err err err” and you think, ‘God, I’m shit at this.’

The French love paper work and they love admin, the country would not run without admin. I used to have to go into Social Services for rental assistance because I was a full time university student, even though I was foreign. But a butterfly flaps its wings and you don’t get it. Provide a photo, provide proof you’re still in the country, etc. So I’d have to go in there and really get my spiel down pat. It’s hard enough to do that in English, let alone in another language. You don’t even notice how you progress, so it’s exciting when you go, wow, I can do all that. It is pretty shit how if you don’t practice it, it goes.

Craig: When I walked the Camino from France to Spain, in my mind I thought while I’m walking I’ll learn French and pick up enough to get by, but I learned nothing, just absolutely nothing. I felt like by the time I left I knew even less than when I’d started.

Bruno: When I got there, I’d done up to Level 6 in French [here in Sydney] and I thought I’ll be okay. I got there and went, oh my god, this is insane, I know nothing. It’s the hardest of all the romance languages.

 

On Cornersmith

(For our glowing review, click here)

Bruno: The food at Cornersmith’s pretty good, I just hate everyone in there. The patrons, I hate all of them, they’re such a wank. [Cornersmith as a place] is not, but just by virtue of the type of food they sell… because they’re the only good café in Marrickville, they attract every twenty eight year old graphic designer who’s bought a house in Marrickville with money from the North Shore. You could house a small nation with the amount of beards in there. All these twenty year old guys with their first beards and lumberjack shirts. We were waiting for a table and there are guys with their iPads out straight away, and it’s so clichéd, it was like something out of Portlandia. You couldn’t make that up. But it’s really good food.

Angie: It’s very simple. I guess I don’t look around when I go in there, I go in there and I eat. It’s such humble food, just honest. I’m not getting anything other than good eggs, nice chutney and some toast.

Bruno: I can’t believe Marrickville has so few good cafes.  I can’t believe it’s so close to the inner city and yet… it’s got some of the good stuff of the ‘burbs; it’s cheaper than anything in Newtown, but it has  none of the cosmopolitan aspects of the inner city.

 

On Meat

Bruno (eating the baked eggs with relish [as in glee, not a condiment]): I reckon I could never become vegan due to eggs and cheese.

Angie: I could forgo cheese, I could not forgo eggs.

Bruno: I’m looking forward to cheese in a petri dish. You know that the first synthetically created meat is now being served in a restaurant, right? [Editor: I can’t find any confirmation of this, just loads of debate on the merits and problems with it.] It is meat, actual meat. A lot of research has been going into this. Obviously one of the issues with meat, for me anyway, it’s not just the animal’s life, but also the sustainability of it. But could I eat meat if it had nothing to do with animals?

Angie: I get the imprint and I get the way that we’re doing it is completely unsustainable, but I really think that if we used meat medicinally and ate it with respect, it would be a very nutrient-dense addition to our everyday lifestyle or eating plan that would help bring us to satiety faster, which would then put less pressure on the environment.

Bruno: The problem is the demand for meat is so astronomical. You’d have to get people to eat meat normally, which is part of the problem. There are people who are eating meat seven days a week, three meals a day, that’s the problem. It’s estimated that up to 30 percent of the reason for climate change is actually the meat industry – not just the rearing of cows bit the transport and food miles and the rest of it. [Editors note: this figure ranges from “virtually no impact” to “up to 65%” depending on which report you read.] It’s just not sustainable, the way we eat meat. I’d be totally for it if it was like that, but what are the chances of teaching human beings that?

Angie: There are movements and they’re small, like the Real Food movement, there is a change. It’s slow, but little changes like that give me a whole lot of hope, because it’s groups getting together. I tell you what, now that it’s trendy – trends flow faster than anything.

Bruno: Even from the economic point of view, not doing something about climate change doesn’t make sense. That’s the crazy thing; Paul Keating, who’s a total economic rationalist, said when the industrial revolution happened, those who didn’t get with the times got left behind. Industries change through technological revolution and the future is in sustainable energy. People think that China are the biggest polluters in the world, and they are by the sheer size of the country and the population, but they’re also the biggest producers of green energy in the world. Does Australia want to be part of that or does Australia want to be part of the old world? Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that revolution?
Angie: And in terms of votes, it’s very trendy.

Bruno: Well, Australians have that attitude of, “Well I don’t know about that. I won’t be told.” Australians love saying, “No, I’m going to make up my own mind.” Australia hates experts. As soon as experts come in it’s all, “Oh a university degree, eh?”

Angie: I think the label of climate change is a bit of a joke, the way we label everything. We’re creating an illusion around it. The reality is the planet’s heating up and what are we going to do about what we do in our daily lives to look after the planet we live on? Where it’s been taken is bells and whistles, like everything else. Reality is we’re not looking after the planet we live on.

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