Nick Johnson and Tom Stoneham met whilst working in Cambridge in the UK. Given the opportunity to come to Australia with Jamie Oliver’s team and work on the start-up for Jamie’s Italian in Sydney’s CBD, they go their ticket to Australia. But once the eatery was up and running and the two had had enough of the long hours working for someone else, a collaboration began to take shape. Now, after seven months searching for the right space, the duo have opened Two Peas on St Johns Road in Glebe.
“We did look on Glebe Point Road,” says Stoneham from the kitchen, which opened yesterday (July 30). “But when this space came up it didn’t need quite as much work.”
And it was in a spot that sorely needed a cafe boost. Tucked down the Sydney uni end of St Johns Road, the venue – which used to be an Italian restaurant – had council approvals, was close to home and really only required that the boys put their own imprint on it.
Serving Five Senses coffee and offering Johnson and Stoneham’s collaborative menu, focused on food with traceable provenance, the space is both slick and inviting. Concrete floors, chalkboard notes on the walls, Chesterfields and a scattering of coffee sack-covered crates for coffee tables create an informal feel.
The menu offers line caught fish with hand cut chips and crushed peas, saltbush braised lamb shank with mash and black cabbage, or local organic poached pear with homemade chamomile tea ice cream. But for Stoneham, the standout is the whiskey and maple syrup cured salmon, with fennel, rocket, chives and poached egg. “We were inspired by the flavours when we were out to dinner one night and we turned it into a breakfast.”
The space has been made more intimate with the addition of a dividing wall that sections off a private dinning room for groups. Breads are either made in-house or come from Sonoma and there’s the promise that notes on ingredients will soon be written on the glass wall.