Split in two by Parramatta Road, Camperdown is a wee residential pocket next to Annandale and Newtown. Although at first glance it looks like it’s mostly warehouse apartment conversions, terrace houses and a dog park that’s probably equivalent to dog heaven; the suburb is packed with places to eat and shop, if you know where to look.
Frying up some of the lightest, loveliest confections around, Elise Honeybrook and Scott Clark did plenty of delicious research before opening Grumpy Donuts as a delivery business, and then a bricks and mortar shop. The pair travelled across North America, using social media as their map to the best doughnut spots in the land. Although they brought back plenty of inspiration for Grumpy’s, the offering is totally original.
Coated in sour sugar, Sour Patch Jam is an acid take on the raspberry jam filled original, whilst the S’mores, with its dark chocolate glaze, biscuit crumbs and torched marshmallow fluff, is a nod to retro camping.
Wayward Brewing Co
You’re fed, it’s well and truly afternoon (or 11:59AM), which means tripping around the corner from Grumpy’s to the Wayward Brewing Co on Gehrig Lane for a beer that’s legit. It’s tucked away, but not as subtle as an old school speakeasy. Look for the yellow wall and the sign that reads “BEER THIS WAY”. The maze of rooms is in a space that was a winery a century ago. The cellar bar offers 12 rotating beers on tap such as the Berliner Weiss aged on a traditional Christmas fruit salad like your Nan used to make, and the impressive production brewery is visible from the bar. On weekends from Fridays, food trucks make a cameo at the Wayward so you only need to go a few metres from your bar stool to grab a bite, and did we mention they’re dog friendly?
In a previous life, before it was covered in lush, delicious rows of vegetables, Camperdown Commons was the local bowl-o, complete with chop suey lunch specials and sun bleached astro-truf that had seen better days. We’re so happy for the change. The new venue has a café in a shipping container and Acre, a restaurant proper, with all the produce coming from the veggie garden outside and small or medium sized farms in the Sydney basin. That means everything is simple, seasonal and scrumptious. There’s a full restaurant menu, bar snacks, cocktails, and then there’s the short but delectable cakes menu. Almost too pretty to eat, Acre makes a lovely baked ricotta cake, a Victorian sponge cake layered with vanilla mascarpone cream and strawberries, or a frangipane cake topped with cream and syrupy, poached fruits.
Gather On The Green
Gather on the Green has solved its limited seating problem with an ingenious solution: rolls of picnic rugs to be used in the park across the road. When customers spill out onto the footpath and fill the heavy communal wood tables outside, the park is usually dotted, sometimes crammed, with people
taking their Tasmanian Nicoise Salad or lemon, coconut and meringue muffin on a picnic rug. Servers dart back and forth across the quiet dead end street, delivering chai in vintage tea cups, and mochas with a tree (yep, a tree) traced in chocolate syrup on top of the foam.
Neighbour to Gather on the Green, we’re not sure how two cafes on this residential strip manage to survive, but they do. Queues tumble out the front doors of each café, Gather on the Green catering to an easy-going crowd and Store to a crowd that appreciates fine coffee—Store’s custom blend. The menu is surprisingly long, especially for such a small venue. Our favourites are simple. For brekky, try the fennel sausage slow cooked in tomato sauce and served with a poached egg and sourdough. For lunch, it’s all about the pappardelle with slow cooked lamb shank ragout. Store also has picnic rugs to take over the road when you’re in the mood for a picnic.
Deus Bar + Kitchen
Even for a gritty, cool Inner West hood like Camperdown, Parramatta Road is just too gritty, not to mention too loud and too ugly. But there is one business that thrives on its corner spot on Parramatta Road—Deus Bar + Kitchen. Set up in a huge warehouse space that’s been there long enough to have plants sprouting from between the bricks, Deus has a café, bar, retail shop and a custom motorbike shop. That means you can get roast mushrooms and burrata on toast for brekky, pick up a pair of selvedge denim jeans and get your bike kitted out with a surfboard rack all in the same spot.
If you know your nursery rhymes, you’ll remember the runcible spoon from the Owl and the Pussycat. That’s all the explanation you’ll get, because runcible is a nonsense word. For our purposes a Runcible Spoon is a cool little café tucked away in the Biscuit Factory apartment conversion. There are a few seats indoors, and the rest are outside in the courtyard, rain, shine or on the bitterest winter day. The menu is full of hearty homemade fare like chicken noodle soup, piles of za’atar dusted pumpkin on warm pita and crunchy mixed salads. The coffee is filter or espresso, and organic tea by The Tea Project.
Masters of the handheld roast dinner (see the roast pork, fennel apple sauce, aged cheddar and pork crackle crust sandwich) Little Lord sits all by itself on a busy intersection on Salisbury Road. It still bears the marks of the building’s many previous residents, “Quality Records” is painted in red, high on the façade. The menu is amazing, paying tribute to all types of food. There’s the Huevos Rancheros, made from a tortilla packed with so many black beans and jalapenos, so much rice and guacamole, you can’t even roll it up, or the prawn cocktail roll with Westmont pickles and chilli sauce.
Next destination? Try 13 Reasons To Check Out Annandale.
Image credit: Alana Dimou