Mount Lawley bar Clarences has long had a reputation for quality bar food, with the cheeseburger and truffle mac’n’cheese among its favourites. But for the next chapter in the story of the neighbourhood bar that could, the kitchen is now home to an African-inspired pop-up called Peasants Paradice.
Scheduled to run for at least the next six months, Peasant Paradice is a joint effort between local hospitality stalwarts Dwight Alexander (Bivouac, Dainty Dowager) and Justin West (West End Deli, Five Bar) who worked together at Lot Twenty. Eighteen months and several pop-ups later, they jumped at the opportunity to enter the kitchen at Clarences.
“They were ready to do something different,” says Alexander. “I think it’s the way established venues are going to go. They’re going to get newer concepts and ideas to bring a different demographic, a different market.”
Drawing on Alexander’s Zimbabwean heritage and family recipes, the regularly changing menu offers bar snacks with an African focus. Dishes include spiced chicken livers with baba ganoush, a boerewors Philly cheese pocket, and pork carnita curry puffs with grilled pineapple, cola glaze and pico de gallo. A curious dessert of corn bread, cornflake anglaise, frosted cereal flakes and maple mascarpone is as delicious as it is unexpected.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re just sticking with flavours that we grew up with,” says Alexander. “It’s just peasant food, homely, slow-cooked, slow-braised. It’s squash, eggplant – ingredients not [usually] seen as a primary option. Growing up, we had to make do with what we had.”
If the standard menu isn’t adventurous enough, on Wednesday nights the pair will serve three additional offal-based plates.
“We’re starting pretty light on the flavours and dishes, using secondary cuts that people know like oxtail and beef cheeks,” says Alexander. “Then we’re going to venture into gizzards, tripe and intestines. We’ve got some hearts in the kitchen we’re playing around with.”
On Sundays, Peasants Paradice will host dining events at Clarences, with all profits benefiting local charity Homeless Healthcare.
“We’re going to get suppliers and butchers involved, and get hospitality staff to donate their time,” says Alexander. “There will always be homeless people in every part of the world, it’s about awareness. Coming from a developing country, you see it all around and you never forget that. There’s a lot of it going on in Northbridge and most people just turn a blind eye.”
Peasants Paradice at Clarences
566 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Wed & Thu 5pm–midnight
Sat & Sun 1pm–midnight
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on February 12, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.