Let’s take a break from my kitchen for a moment, and enjoy a lovely lunch outside. I am not normally doing restaurant review on this blog. Most of the time, I am just too lazy to bring out my camera while enjoying the food and the atmosphere. But what if the place itself is so beautiful; it inspires me to take out my camera?
My friend kept on telling me how lovely that space was before I head out to the Commoner. And it was, with a little surprise. Looking at their website, I envisaged a noisy and edgy bar. But in reality, the restaurant was modern, simple and cosy with beautiful vintage decoration.
Something about the Commoner made me feel at home. The small courtyard at the back, with narrow stair reminded me of Hanoi-style cafes. It was different space and different time, but walking ever slowly up those stairs evoked the feeling of nostalgia. Perhaps it was the vintage-like ambiance, the organic arrangement of small potted plants, and the warm sunlight on a cold autumn day made me feel that way.
Ultimately, the restaurant should be judged by its food and service. I think the Commoner did reasonably well. We sampled the Farm, Feather and Fur, which featured autumn produces. In this case, game meat! All the dishes were well-portioned and cooked beautifully. So even though we sampled a lot of meat (much more than usual), we did not feel over the top at the end of the meal.
For starter, we had crudités with anchovy butter. Nice, simple and fresh.
The next course was Mr. B’s favourite: Rare Duck Breast, Pheasant Ballontine, Truffled White Bean and Mustard Fruits. The duck breast had real beautiful smoky flavours, which I feel a bit overpowering to other elements of the dish.
Now, my favourite of the day. Venison Loin, Caramelised Apple, Celeriac Puree. The venison was delicious meaty with great texture. This is why I love game meat. The puree was light, creamy with a pleasant celery taste undertone. (You can see that I love simply cook meals!)
Next was Rabbit and Prune Pie with Wood Roasted Carrots and Mushroom. We did not eat pork, so the bacon in this dish was replaced by wood roasted mushrooms. The pie was not something I would rave about, but the wood roasted carrots and mushrooms were absolutely winners.
Dessert course! Orange blossom crème brûlée with spiced biscuits and poached rhubarb. Again, the restaurant was so accommodating to change the dessert to a non-alcoholic one for us. Crème brûlée for dessert could feel old, but we both loved the fresh aroma of orange blossom water here. I’m doing a copy-cat version at home soon!
The Commoner is a place which perhaps I will be returning again and again. The food is not glorious or adventurous but it tastes good and honest. The natural flavours of produces shine through, and it is a plus point in my book. The service is warm and attentive. A solid recommendation from me.
The Commoner Restaurant
122 Johnston Street Melbourne VIC 3065
(03) 9415 6876