Restaurant Review: The Purple Peacock Struts Its Stuff

We take an early look at Eaglescliffe's new "Instagrammable" Asian dining "experience" that plans to sell you its furniture

"We needed something different to pull people out of Yarm," explained Sonali Craddock of the newly refurbished eatery that forms part of The Parkmore Hotel and Leisure Club on Yarm Road.

And different was certainly the order of the day, as two female circus performers breathed fire to greet selected guests for an initial taster of what The Purple Peacock had to offer.

Circus performers greet patrons with FIRE! at The Purple Peacock's preview night
Circus performers provide a warm welcome was provided at The Purple Peacock's preview evening

Sonali, Group Marketing Director for the High Street Group continued, "we wanted somewhere very Instagrammable, photographic, vibrant... something that's never been done before."

Heavily inspired by her travels across Asia, Sonali's vision has seen the former sedate surroundings of J's @ 636 transformed into an intimate den of sensual colour and imagination.

Gone are the neutral colours, exposed brickwork and formulaic seating of the past, replaced by vivid colours, flowers, custom wallpaper, individually designed furniture including pieces from Opal's in Coxhoe and naturally, a statement 5ft tall golden peacock.

But whilst the re-design has been put together with an eye on creating the perfect social media photo opportunity, General Manager James Leeds revealed a further unique twist to the surroundings;

"Not only can you eat the food and drink the drink - if you like the chair you're sat on you will be able to buy it and take it home with you."

Whether this unusual aspect of the dining "experience" will catch on in the North-East remains to be seen, but in discussing the hopes of building the brand the pair discussed the hopes of building a brand that would see further venues open in Durham and Newcastle in the near future.

James Leeds and Sonali Craddock the driving force behind The Purple Peacock
James Leeds (Left) and Sonali Craddock (right) aim to provide guests with a unique experience


The Food

With plenty of focus on the look and fell of the venue, you would be forgiven for fearing style may have taken precedence at the expense of substance.

But thankfully, based on our initial impressions, just as much attention has been paid to the food being served.

The menu, which contains a select choice of Asian classics and home favourite with an Eastern twist provides a wealth of variety to suit a wide range of tastes.

Delicately Spiced Lamb Cutlets and Slow Braised Shortrib of Beef available at The Purple Peacock
A sample serving of the Purple Peacock's Delicately Spiced Lamb Cutlets (left) and Slow Braised Shortrib of Beef (Right)

We particularity enjoyed the 'Delicately Spiced Lamb Cutlets' served with a cashew and smooth butternut puree and 'Slow Braised Shortrib of Beef' accompanied by an Asian Sweet Potato Mash.

Both dishes were prepared to perfection, showing the chef's skill to take simple dishes and elevate them to new levels by delicately balancing flavours.

A special mention has to go to the vegan 'Hearty Cauilflower & Chickpea Korma' which was as good as any meat based curry we have tried.

Other highlights included 'The Crispy Goats Cheese Fritters' with a sesame and sweet chilli dipping sauce, which had a fantastic crunch followed by a zingy sweetness and lasting heat, and 'The Miso Fishcakes' that had a delightful fresh fish flavour.

Miso Fishcakes at The Purple Peacock
Miso Fishcakes served with chef's 'special chilli dipping sauce.'

When it came to dessert, we were disappointed with the 'Buttermilk Pudding' where we found the cardamon over powering and the Biscotti lacking any crunch.

However, this was in stark contrast to the Dim Sum Mango Pudding, with the already delicious taste of Mango was elevated to new levels of vibrant, bright lasting sweetness. This was simply superb.

A further notable quality from the evening was the impeccable, knowledgeable and attentive service received from the waiting staff throughout the evening, led by Manager James - setting a reassuringly high-bar to live up to.

Our Verdict

The Purple Peacock is an exciting new venture, offering a welcome taste of the East in the North-East and it will be interesting to see how the restaurant grows into the new surroundings over the coming months.

Not normally a fan of mixed purpose enterprises, preferring businesses that specialise in their chosen sector, The Purple Peacock dispelled any doubts on this front by serving up a number of delightful taster samples.

This will no doubt become a popular venue for Weddings and functions, as it looks to become an iconic social media venue.

But whilst some will go for the photographs; the reason to return again and again - as it should be - is most definitely the food.

The Purple Peacock

Restaurant Details

The Purple Peacock is open seven days a week, serving at the flowing times:

Breakfast: 7am-10am*
Lunch: 11am-2pm
Evening: 5pm-late

*Monday to Friday, 8am-10am Saturday & Sunday

Prices on the evening main menu range from:

Starters: £7-£8
Mains: £16 - £18*
Deserts: £7

*Includes two side dishes, which are otherwise priced at £2.50.  Some dishes are available as 'small plates' for £7 each. Vegan options range from £10-£14, but come without side dishes or can be supplied as a small plate   for £6. 

A children's menu is also available, offering 2 courses for £9 or 3 for £12.

Bookings can be made online via www.ilovepurplepeacock.com or by phoning 01642 792866

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