Tapas are best enjoyed in groups, and this is exemplified by a trip to Peasant. The food is rustic, servings are easy to apportion and easy to eat.
One of the flagship establishments of the Barracks' fashionable food-centric mini-precinct, Peasant certainly pulls a crowd – and quite an eclectic one at that. Couples out for a romantic evening meal, professional types tucking into late work dinners, lone snackers, and groups of chortling cocktail swillers. The neighbouring Palace Cinema also means that there are waves of new customers at regular intervals – surges of movie goers looking for a convenient pre/post film bite.
Somehow despite its popularity, Peasant manages an intimate atmosphere. Making the most of its heritage listed setting, the restaurant is moodily lit with mural painted walls in earthy colours. Secluded tables are peppered throughout the leafy outdoor area, where the chatter of fellow patrons evens out into a low, unobtrusive hum.
Though its appeal is broad reaching, and it comfortably and deftly hosts tables of one or two, Peasant is perhaps most suited to larger parties (in fact, they do banquets for twelve or more). This is due in no small part to the food.
Tapas are best enjoyed in groups, and this is exemplified by a trip to Peasant. The food is rustic, servings are easy to apportion and easy to eat. Arranged under the headings 'Nibbles', 'Tapas' and 'Share Plates', dishes are predominantly Spanish and/or South American in flavour and include patatas bravas ($8) and sardine escabeche and peppers on sourdough ($12).
The beef brisket with hommus and radish on sourdough ($12) are crunchy one-bite wonders. The piquillo peppers stuffed with vegetable paella, goats curd and green olive salsa ($26) are good to share, though their saltiness and piquancy will definitely make you want to order another drink. Not a problem, there's plenty to choose from. The drinks list is mostly Spanish, with a few Portuguese and Latin American exceptions. The cocktail list sees them venture a little further afield, but not too far. There is the obligatory sangria of course, but for after dinner they recommend the Solera – sherry, Cynar, peach and Pernod ($15).
If you're in the Paddington area on a Monday, think about stopping in for Paella Mondays, when you can get paella for 2 for $30, washed down with carafes of sangria for $20.