The Elk & Pea

A couple of friends and I met up at Elk & Pea last night and had a great time catching up over some delicious food. The atmosphere was lively, but not noisy, and the service was spot on throughout the night.

I love the décor at Elk & Pea, it appeals to my inner Interior Designer, with lots of cute little touches around the restaurant: a giant bird cage over one of the tables; vintage paintings on the ceiling; subway tiles behind the counter/bar; and mismatched chairs. I’ve always had good service here, but I have spoken to a few people who had long wait times between visits from servers, or food delivery.

Last night the restaurant was packed, but we’d thought ahead and booked a table. For starters we ordered the ‘Popcorn with chilli and Manchego cheese’ – I always start with this dish at Elk & Pea, it is delicious and was perfect for us to nibble on while we waited for one of our party to find a park and join us (*shakes fist at Braddon!*). I have no pictures because I was too excited and dived right in when it was placed on the table.

As I have a small stomach, and the two ladies I was dining with are small eaters, we decided on a few smaller items off the menu. My friend S, a vegetarian, ordered the wedges.

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The wedges were crispy and hot, although a little salty (which is fine by me cos I like salty potato). The dish is completed with tomato salsa, avocado and sour cream, and it is extremely moreish.

My eyes were too big for my stomach and I decided to order two tacos, because I couldn’t decide on just one. I ordered the crispy chicken, slaw, honey and agave glaze taco and the braised lamb shoulder, ancient grains (quinoa), smoked garlic and rosemary yoghurt taco.

My other friend ordered the pumpkin taco and the salmon taco – so between the two of us we had one of each of the taco selections.

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I could only manage half of the chicken taco, and a bite of the lamb one, but both were delicious. The chicken was indeed crispy, with a sweet honey flavour and the coleslaw was fresh and creamy. The lamb was slow cooked to perfection, with deep flavour, and the grains gave it a pleasant texture combination.

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My friend said she could have eaten nothing but her pumpkin taco for the rest of her life – I don’t like pumpkin, but that seems like a pretty good recommendation to me!

I really like Elk & Pea, and have been there a few times. I’ve always had good service and delicious food, but I will admit to hearing many stories to the contrary. I’ve actually heard a lot of stories about poor service, and cold food. In fact, I know of no other place in Canberra with such divided experiences and opinions. I might be lucky? I do believe that what you put in to a meal is what you get out of it – if you go in with a good attitude usually you’ll be rewarded in kind.

I always lamented Canberra’s lack of decent Mexican / Central American food, and Elk & Pea is one of the places hitting that spot. I will be back. Again.

The Elk & Pea on Urbanspoon

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