What was once a farmhouse, The Commons Local Eating House, nestled in the backstreets of Darlinghurst, is a memoir to Australian history. From the outside, the heritage restaurant could be mistaken for a homestead, with its old Victorian styled architecture, tin roof, sandstone brick and an abundance of plants hanging from the front porch. Enter through the archway into the main dining area and you immediately feel at home. The low ceilings with exposed brick and sandstone walls and a wood fire, emanate warmth and provide a cozy atmosphere for diners. Continue down the stairs, and you arrive Downtown- the intimate bunker style cocktail bar, low-lit and moody, perfect for those post dinner aperitifs with live jazz the perfect way to cap off a great evening.
The décor is simple and rustic, with dimly lit candles scattering the dining area and wooden tables and chairs adding to the homely vibe. A winter’s night is well spent here, nestled by the fire, but our advice is to get in early as this is a popular spot for regulars.
The menu is a seasonally influenced and ingredient focused, to dish up tasty modern meals, all designed to comfort your belly and nourish your inner foodie soul. With entrees of seared scallops set on a broad been puree or the crispy skin pork belly served with lentils and black pudding, there’s certainly no disappointment from the get go, as you prepare your appetite for what’s to come. The more substantial dishes include things like their famous homemade pasta, which is updated daily and caters to those intolerant to gluten (a bonus in our eyes). The osso buco with soft polenta and a silver beet gremolata melts in your mouth, while the farmhouse risotto is enough to warm the cockles of your heart. There’s also a strong focus on seafood offerings here, which we are totally okay with given The Commons prides themselves on sourcing and serving only sustainable fish fare (double tick).
Groups are also catered for at The Commons, with a private function dining area reserved on the top floor of the venue. If you’re group is only small, there’s also a seasonal set menu on offer that provides guests with shared entrees, mains and desserts, so you can be sure to try out as many of the delectable dishes available. No more decisions, The Commons have done all the hard work for you.
If you’re coming here thirsty, perhaps you’d like to perch on the porch and watch as the hustle and bustle of Darlinghurst passes you by while you enjoy a classic Pimms cup (we know where we’ll be hanging out this summer). For the wineos, there’s an extensive list of local whites and reds alongside a few international flavours from New Zealand and Italy, which your waiter will gracefully talk you through to ensure you pick the perfect drop for your dish. There’s also a list of craft beers on offer and for those with an appreciation for strong, oaky spirits, the barrel aged negroni is a must - which we love more because it comes in its own mini bottle that you can construct yourself over ice. So nestle Downtown and be transported to days of old as you embrace the soothing tunes of jazz and blues.
The Commons Local Eating House is a must try for residents of Sydney and visitors alike, who are after an intimate dining experience with a heart-warming menu that will have you feeling at ease.
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Image credit: Claudia Shmueli