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Camperdown Commons

Home > Sydney > Breakfast | Family | Food and Wine | Lunch | Restaurants
by Trudencej (subscribe)
I'm a writer living in Newtown Sydney. I love travel, coffee, sweet indulgence and finding new things to do with with my husband, son and crazy dog. Check out my blog at lastboardingcallforgate77.wordpress.com for more.
Published October 10th 2016
A little bit of country in the heart of the city
I spent many long balmy summer afternoons barefoot, with a beer in hand, trying to master the art of lawn bowls at the Camperdown Bowling Club.

It was a sad day in our household when the club closed its doors. Afterwards, I always felt a well of nostalgia rise up and a little sadness driving past the boarded-up gates and overgrown greens.

Then I heard whispers that the space was going to be re-developed. It was with great relief to learn that it was still to be used as a dedicated green space and urban farm for local residents. My community-minded self cheered that the old greens would continue to be a place where people could gather and enjoy the outdoors.

Camperdown Commons (the Commons) is the result and it is a lovely little oasis.

The space is shared by the Acre Eatery whose Head Chef is Gareth Howard, a Welshman and the former Regional Executive Chef of Jamie's Italian. Acre's focus is on providing locally sourced sustainable produce, which is in season, full of nutrients and tastes delicious.

Acre Eatery, Restaurant, urban farms, child-friendly
Acre Eatery - Gareth Howard (Left) - Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Website


There is the Container cafe, a takeaway service, offering light breakfast wraps, sandwiches, quiches and delicious cakes. If you don't feel like dining in, you can order your coffee and treats here to go or sit at the Garden Terrace to relax and enjoy the view.

Camperdown Commons, Container Cafe, Cafe, urban farms, child-friendly
Container Cafe- Image courtesey of Acre Eatery Facebook page


Pocket City Farms also shares the space. A not for profit, that is taking Sydney's neglected urban spaces and turning them into farms. These guys oversee and manage the onsite farm. Their aim is to connect the consumer with the produce. If you visit their website you can find out what is being grown and what the soil readings levels are. At the time of writing, the soil is a 5-6 ph (neutral) allowing for absorption of Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Nitrogen, Zinc, Sulfur, Silica, and Organic Matter all which help grow vibrant produce. A real working farm indeed !

The area is a working green space that allows us inner city folk to reconnect with the earth and rediscover how our food is produced, watch it grow and know where it comes from!

But wait there's more! There is also a common room and pavilion which are a dedicated space to hire for functions, events, workshops. There are weekly Yoga classes and an interactive kids' play space to let the little ones run free.

I think though the most charming part of the space is the outdoor seating and garden terrace which overlooks the lawns and gorgeous rows of fresh produce.

Camperdown Commons, Acre Eatery, Restaurant, urban farms, child-friendly, fresh produce, sustainable food
Camperdown Commons - Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Facebook Page


On a bright sunny day we visited and I couldn't help but smile, as it really felt like we had walked onto someone's farm. A little bit of country had found its way into the heart of the inner city.

Acre Eatery, Restaurant, urban farms, child-friendly
Acre Eatery - Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Website


The perfectly manicured greens, godawful carpet, dance floor and bar from the Campo Bowlo days are gone and in their place is a relaxed, welcoming, open plan dining venue.

Acre Eatery, Restaurant, urban farms, child-friendly
Acre Eatery Interior - Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Facebook page


The decor is pared back; modern clean lines with a nod to the country feel. The restaurant has white walls, light wooden furniture and splashes of greenery from the gardens and the bi-fold doors open up on balmy days. The tables are set with ceramic plates by Miya Valmadre-McCrae from two warm hands, wine glasses and crisp napkins.

Acre Eatery, Restaurant, urban farms, child-friendly
Acre Eatery - Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Website


As you enter the gates, wafts of coffee emanate from the Container cafe. My mouth starts to water as I walk past a decadent blood orange sponge cake, frittatas, cookies and homemade goodies in their window.

Camperdown Commons, Container Cafe, Cafe, urban farms, child-friendly
Container Cafe- Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Facebook page


Lush produce grows in neatly formed rows either side of the pathway leading up to the restaurant. There is a community garden plot where people can grow and harvest produce and a group of people have gathered in the pavilion for a composting workshop.

A pop-up market stall is selling fresh produce on the path next to the Container cafe.

The outdoor barbeque on the terrace is fired up and woodsmoke permeates the air with a hint of smoky lamb.

The Garden Terrace is packed with mixed groups of families and friends. Everyone is relaxed and laughing. Tables of happy parents watch their kids play and climb over the play area. The whole place has a fun and relaxed vibe.

Camperdown Commons, Acre Eatery, Restaurant, urban farms, child-friendly, fresh produce, sustainable food
Camperdown Commons - Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Facebook Page


As it is lunch time and such a beautiful day, we opt to sit outside at the Garden Terrace. The menu for the terrace is pared back from the full Acre Eatery Menu, but it is delicious and really well priced.

I opt for the 12 hour smoked spring lamb, flat bread, kale, minted yogurt, garden verde for a reasonable $17.00.

My friend has the smoked pulled pork free range pork butt, brioche roll with garden slaw and barbeque sauce for $16.00.

We order and pay at the bar, both meals are served promptly and are really tasty.

The lamb is tender with a lovely smoky flavour and Kale and Yoghurt compliment the meat.

The pulled pork is also tender, and it too has a smokey flavour. The crunchy slaw is a great accompaniment.

The fat chips are just the kind of weekend indulgence we are after, thick, tender and the right dusting of salt.

Afterwards, we decide to get the delicious blood orange sponge cake from the Container cafe. It is a little piece of heaven. Light, moist and citrusy, I top it all off with a smooth cappuccino, it really is a perfect lunch.

Camperdown Commons, Container Cafe, urban farms, child-friendly, Cake, organic
Container Cafe Blood Orange Cake- Image courtesy of Acre Eatery Facebook page


The only flaw with the Commons for our little family is that you can't bring your four-legged friends. Darn pesky Council regulations!

This flaw aside, I am sure the Commons will become a regular for our family weekend outings. I can't wait to go back and try the Acre dining menu on date night.

The Commons is a real oasis in the heart of the busy inner west. Affordable and enjoyable, the garden terrace is a wonderful place to while away a few hours with family and friends.

So grab a bite and some wine and enjoy a long lazy lunch. You will feel like you have been transported to the countryside without having to fight Sydney traffic !
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Why? A unique urban farm experience
Phone: 02 9559 0050
Where: Camperdown - 31a Mallett St Camperdown NSW
Your Comment
What a wonderful place, Trudencej!
by Elaine (score: 3|6027) 890 days ago
Wow, I'm going to have to visit, looks great and so relaxing
by Faye (score: 3|1128) 885 days ago
Can't wait to see this wonderful transformation
of space & enjoy some delicious food!
by aveka (score: 0|2) 885 days ago
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