In a building known for its glass-box appearance and a number of tapped out restaurants, now lies a contemporary and affordable Vietnamese eatery by the name of Peasant. Launched by brothers John and Simon Yip, the Dominion Rd establishment has been given a minimal fit out to match its distinctly fresh take on the Southeast Asian cuisine.
Said ‘freshness’ is chiefly captured through the generous use of herbs - Vietnamese mint, coriander, basil, et al. In this instance that proved to be an optimum result, given the fact that we practically ordered every single fried option from the menu.
The rice paper rolls are available in two varieties - a cold summer roll style containing tea smoked salmon, and the fried one comprising pork, dried shrimp and wood ear mushrooms. We opted for the latter and found value in the simple addition of lettuce, using it as an extra layer on top of the flaky skin. The accompanying sauce is also a fundamental player.
Shared plates are a main feature of the menu, boasting a dozen options like: lamb skewers, market fish, egg tofu, angus sirloin and roast duck. Seven-spice squid was our first stop and set a benchmark with its mouth-melting texture (squid fiends take note). Next came cornflake chicken. Beneath the mountain of herbs, portions came served with an incredibly light crumb and a refreshing lemongrass aioli. The pork belly seemed like an obvious choice, and had plenty of bang, though was the least favoured given the chewy texture. An escape from protein was found in the crisp broccolini with thinly sliced almonds and an excessive dose of garlic.
While the shared plates are available all day, the lunch service offers two separate additions on the menu: a beef brisket bahn mi and a rare beef pho. Another unmissable Vietnamese classic is the sweet cold brew coffee with coconut milk, also a plausible option for dessert. With all that said, the best part is that Peasant now finally holds an alcohol license, opening up the doors to BYOW and a few beers on the drinks list.