I went to Peanut Butter Jelly in early February. I meant to write the blog but I had quit my job and was heading to Koh Samui for a wedding and a birthday, so I put it off. I’ll write it when I return I said to myself. I got back on March 2nd and started my new job on March 9th and was so focused on that I still did not write – and then the world went mad.
Weeks passed. I felt like I was going through several stages of quarantine. The Netflix and chill where I rarely left my bed. The clean every cupboard you own phase (still slowly working on that) The online shopping phase, mainly homewares and baskets for organising cupboards etc and finally I made it to the walk for exercise phase just to get some vitamin D and get out of the house!
But I never made it to the writing phase, until now. I don’t know about you but the one thing I’ve missed through the above phases is being social. No more long bottomless brunches with large groups of friends laughing and telling stories across a table while we all imbibe in bottomless booze.
So let me take you back, Dear Reader. To a time before this Brave New World. Picture it. February 8th 2020, Manly…
< insert wibbley wobbley timey whimey music here
It was pretty cold for a Summers day in Sydney, with rain pelting from the sky. I had on my raincoat and rubber Melissa shoes, so no amount of rain was going deter me. I was heading to the Dark side again (aka the North side) to meet up with my friend Audra. A quick train ride to Circular Quay and then I was off on the Manly Fast Ferry. The driver warned us it might be a rough ride over the heads and he wasn’t wrong! It ended up being like a roller coaster but on the water. A quick 5 minute walk from the ferry and I had arrived.
I’d been wanted to check out Peanut Butter Jelly – heretofore known as PBJ – for quite some time. Jason King aka @spooningaust on instagram had uploaded some amazing images and I was intrigued. The photographs were a mix of two of my favourite things, street art and street food. What was not to love? Unfortunately (or fortunately for the people on the dark side) they were in Manly, not somewhere I generally frequented. As much as the food shots called to me it wasn’t until they started offering bottomless brunch that I knew I had to make an effort and jump on a ferry across the harbour.
If you you have read my previous blog post about Manly Wine you will know that my friend Audra lives in Deewhy and I think it’s only fair that on the odd occasion I come to her side of the bridge for our Bottomless Brunch sessions instead of the other way around. So here we were. Audra of course was early. No matter how early I am she always manages to beat me, much like my friend Ashley! (I’m looking at you Lady Hucker)
Upon entering PBJ these amazing paintings by Madsteez hit you right in the face! Bright and vibrant they are slightly reminiscent of Miley Cyrus in her tongue out phase. The character exudes sex appeal, licking what appears to be a PB&J sandwich sensually and poking out her tongue playfully at you as you walk from one room to the next.
The artist, Madsteez was born blind in his left eye and was given three first names (Mark Paul Daren) He is a multi-faceted artist and designer based in New York. As an artist he is known for his visual large scale, multi layered paintings which are definitely an eye catching feature as you walk through the doors of the of PBJ.
We were seated next to a half naked lady (I later found out this was a rendering of the artists ex wife) and an evil looking clown (Mr Cartoon?) I’m not coulrophobic but every time I see a clown these days I think of Stephen King and Pennywise from IT. The artist, Mister Cartoon is a Los Angeles native who began his career as a graffiti artist before branching into murals, album covers, logos and now tattoos for which he’s most famously known.
His richly detailed hand rendered designs pull much of their inspiration from the Los Angeles of his youth. At one time the black and grey fine line style were synonymous with LA street life. His work has helped bridge the gap between those hardscrabble beginnings and the style’s current popularity.
The deal is fairly straight forward and extremely reasonable. Order one thing off the bottomless menu and order as many Mimosas (assorted flavours), Espresso Martinis, Margaritas, Mojitos, wines or beers as you can in 2 hours. Unfortunately the one thing we both wanted from the menu was the Breakfast Burger, which was the only thing unavailable on the menu that day. We struggled to choose, chicken or beef? In the end we ordered one of each – the Hot Bird Burger and the Dirty Burger, asking if they could cut them down the middle so we could share them.
Of course the most important thing was the drinks and what else would you order when starting your brunch? Alcoholic breakfast drinks of course! Coffee and OJ to start the day aka Espresso Martinis and Mimosas. Pro tip make sure you order your next drink before you have finished your current one. Cocktails take a while to make and by the time they get back with your next drink you will definitely be ready for it.
The burgers were fantastic and we both agreed that the Dirty was the best out of the two. Burgers are all very well but sadly what I drooled over in @spooningaust instagram posts was not available on the Bottomless Menu. I guess this just means I’ll have to put on my big girl panties some time and head back over the bridge for an unbottomless dinner of Tacos, Jamaican Jerk Beer Can chicken, Spiced Taters and Twinkies.
I’ve seen a lot of this street artists work around Sydney and like many street artists I never know their name, but I recognised the style. Thanks to PBJ I now know that this piece is by Phibs an Australian Street Artist.
Originally from Sydney, Phibs came from a strong graffiti background and was active in community programs, inspiring the artistic potential of this now popular art form. Moving to Melbourne in 2001 saw Phibs exposed to an evolving Melbourne street art scene. Phibs signifies the symbiotic, engaging the urban with the organic. He produces works across a vast variety of mediums and consistently reflects his own unique realms of symbolism, multiculturalism and mythology. A number of Phibs’ print works have been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia for its permanent collection which is pretty amazing!
I love the way the artwork and the interiors work together to create different zones in the restaurant. Here the Arabic looking writing on the walls is actually in English. If you look at it at the right angle it says Peanut Butter Jelly and the owner’s name in script.
These walls have been painted by Usugrow who began his own artistic activity by creating flyers for the underground punk and hard core music scenes of the early 1990s. Since then he has been involved in various album cover designs and has collaborated with skateboard and fashion brands. He currently works mainly on illustration, painting and calligraphy as well as live painting, collaboration projects with other artists and three-dimensional artwork.
Something sweet was required next. After all we needed to make use of that second desert stomach! I mean if not now when? So I ordered this S’mores brownie (which was additional) I’ve always love the idea of s’mores ever since I first heard of them as a child watching American television, although I can’t recall which show I first saw them on. Once I became a Girl Guide (no judgement please! 🤣) I insisted we always make s’mores around the campfire when I took girls away camping.
S’mores (for those of you not in the know) are traditionally cooked using a campfire. Traditionally, the marshmallow is gooey but not burnt. The roasted marshmallow is then sandwiched between two halves of a plain biscuit (Arnotts Milk Coffee was my preferred ones) with a piece of chocolate (Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Furry Friends was exactly the right size) I would then sandwich together, the hot marshmallow which would melt the chocolate and become a tasty campfire treat.
This was nothing like that! A ball of delicious brownie with a gooey chocolate centre covered in torched marshmallow. It was sprinkled with a dusting of beetroot powder and served with a side of warm peanut butter. A masterpiece of deliciousness and oh so rich! A fitting end to our brunch date.
Hugs were given. The sky had cleared and as I made my way to the Manly Ferry I reflected, perhaps the Dark Side was not so bad after all…
As the Manly Ferry cuts its way to Circular QuayAustralian Crawl
📍 where – 7 Whistler St Manly
🍸🍹 🥂🍷🍻🍺 Drinks – Cocktails, wine and beer
💵 how much – $ 45
🍔🍟🍳🥓🥞 food – choose 1 thing off the set menu
⌚️ how long – 2 hours
🗓 when – Saturday and Sunday – am and pm