To say that North Shore locals were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Petermen would be under-selling it. On night two the St Leonards-based offshoot of Saint Peter was rammed. Bigger than the flagship, Josh Niland’s new restaurant is all blonde wood, pale walls and neutral tones with an injection of colour courtesy of a fully Ken Done art collection on the walls.
Wimmy Winkler, floor staff extraordinaire, has busted out of retirement to help settle the new team. She recommends the 350g Manjimup marron ($82), split and roasted over coals with curry butter. It arrives with a glorious bowl of farm-fresh greens and two pillows of fried bread that you tear up and stuff into the empty shell to not lose a drip of that tasty shellfish head. It’s silky and delicious though I preferred the less pricy Coorong pipis ($38), tenderly stewed in their own briny juices, wild garlic and fennel. They’ll make you want a second piece of Fiore bread ($6/each) with yoghurt cultured butter.
The menu here is less challenging than the ‘fish and all its parts’ ethos of the original, though it’s early days. We enjoyed the big salty hit of WA Albany rock oysters ($6.50/each) with a tiny pinch of metal at the end, though the five-year-old Wapengo ($7/each) rocks out ate them. Both cleaned up a slightly petrochemical edge to the 2017 Bird on a Wire Marsanne ($86) that drank better as it warmed.
Next time I’d skip over colourful but otherwise unremarkable fermented Duckfoot farm vegetables ($12) and slices of raw milk cheese laid over a beautiful ripe black fig ($18) in favour of more fishes. From ruby red slices of Mooloolaba yellowfin tuna ($24) unphased by robust black garlic and Ananda capers to a pot of salt and vinegar Corner Inlet king george whiting ($24) in olive brine I can’t stop popping into my mouth, the fishes are where the magic happens.