Looking for a relaxing weekend lunch? Or somewhere to stop by for some bucolic beauty? Camperdown Commons is a collaboration between Acre Eatery and Pocket City Farms. People flock to the enormous site that makes you feel as though you've driven an hour out of the city to enjoy a bit of farm life.
The 350 seater Acre Eatery is by the same people that brought Sydney The Greens. There are several areas: there's the outdoor Garden Terrace area with a more casual menu as well as a picnic area with rugs to sit on, a function space to rent and a takeaway coffee place housed in a shipping container.
And then there's the airy restaurant with windows flung open to catch the easy breeze this Sunday. It was formerly the Camperdown bowling club that has been converted to a farmhouse style of restaurant.
Service is just darling from our waitress who explains the specials and gives us her name. It's busy but not heavingly so but thankfully they take bookings so there's no queuing.
Chef Gareth Howard is from Jamie’s Italian and the menu reflects the farm style aesthetic. There are starters and mains as well as two larger share plates. We are swayed towards the pork roast to share because it is Sunday lunchtime.
But first cocktails! My order is the Earl Grey Bees Knees with Earl Grey unfused gin, honey, lemon and egg white which has an appealing sweetness without being overly so. Belinda's is the La Vie En Rose with Bombay Sapphire gin, Aperol, Chartreuse, Pocket City Farm lemon thyme and grapefruit.
You know something's delicious when you just want to go home and recreate it yourself. This was my reaction to the smoked, potted white fish with a lovely smokiness, citrus zest and a side of fennel, radish, celery, cucumber and cornichons as well as crunchy caraway seed lavosh.
The roast pork to share is meant to serve 2 or 4 depending on what else you've ordered. There are four thick slices of porchetta on the tray plus plenty of vegetables on the side as well as a remoulade salad. The pork is strong in aroma but very juicy and seasoned well and the million dollar question is how is the crackling? Gorgeously crunchy indeed!
The fat chips are indeed fat. They're not crispy though, more soft roasted potatoes that happen to be in chip form. But as much as I was nonplussed about the fat chips, I loved the broccoli with the tangy yogurt dressing and crunchy seeds. It reminds me of tasty deep fried Brussels sprouts (why are fried vegetables so good?).
Sadly I didn't love the chai latte at all that tasted very watery. They took this off the bill as we just didn't drink it.
The baked cheesecake has some crunchy praline on top and dabs of smooth Italian meringue. The blood orange in this is subtle, more in the colour of the jelly on top but it's a satisfying and moreish cheesecake.
I make a mango and passionfruit pavlova (albeit a triple decker one so it's impractical to serve it here) and the Acre Eatery version is a neater bundle decorated with flowers. There is a soft, gooey centre and some crunchy meringue outer as well as fruit curd and whipped cream and flowers. The only let down is the fresh mango, it's not quite summer sweet yet as mangoes are just coming into season.
We enjoy the breeze for a while before realisign that it's Sunday and things need to be done. As we exit, we walk through the farm where butterflies flutter and a magpie guards the vegetable beds.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you often go out for Sunday lunch or do you eat it at home? And how do you feel about chips? Do you expect them to be crunchy or are you good with non crunchy chips? And do you often hanker for a bit of greenery?
This meal was independently paid for.
31A Mallett St, Camperdown NSW 2050
Garden Breakfast Saturday-Sunday 7.00am-12.00pm
Eatery Wednesday-Saturday 12.00pm-3.30pm, Sunday 12.00pm - 4.30pm
Dinner Wednesday-Saturday 6.00pm-10.00pm, Sunday 5.00pm-9.00pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday Shipping Container Open everyday 7.00am-3.00pm