This restaurant has worn many faces over the years. 120 Morning Lane was once the much-loved Railroad Cafe, before Magnus Reid’s popular Antipodean restaurant Legs made a name for itself here. For the last few years this charming corner plot has been home to Peg - perhaps the most unusual of the Noble Fine Liquor stable.
Peg launched as a no-bookings yakitori bar, but as of September 2021 switched lanes to become a tasting menu and bookings establishment. There’s a reminiscence of the old menu - the charcoal grill remains along with the Japanese inspiration, but this new format gives head chef Byron Fini licence to stretch his culinary wings a little.
The result is a twisting, turning, roller coaster that has some thrilling highs and intriguing flavour combinations, but might be slightly discombobulating to those who just want dinner and a glass of wine. Some dishes push deep into ultra-minimal territory; pork tonkatsu, apple mustard, pickles and cabbage is exactly that - a slice of crispy pork, a separate spoon of apple mustard, two small piles of pickles, and shredded raw cabbage in a separate bowl. The combinations work - particularly pork, mustard and pickled kohlrabi which is sensational - but it’s a style that leaves us feeling a little adrift. An optional cheese course is just that - a piece of cheese. It’s wonderful cheese and we understand the desire to respect the cheese, but we won’t be the only people lamenting the absence of a cracker.
The more complete dishes are Peg’s best. Chawanmushi (a Japanese egg custard) has a perfect set, a rich, cosy layer of lobster consomme over the top, and a spoon of caviar for good measure. It’s a delight, as are umami-bomb duck dumplings with spiky tomato XO sauce. The best comes last and combines Peg’s adventurous and comforting spirits - a pumpkin and white chocolate ice cream sandwich, with gooey caramel centre.
It's a thrill ride for adventurous gastronauts, but if that doesn’t sound like you, perhaps try the more affordable lunch menu before plumping for the full dinner experience.
Image credit: Charlie McKay