122 Johnston Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9415 6876
Last week Bf-B and I visited The Commoner for a mid-week date night treat. I’ve been wanting to visit for a while, and thought this was the perfect opportunity as the space is quite small, making it the perfect place for an intimate meal.
I’d heard the “feed me” option for $55 pp was the way to go, which meant discussing with our waitress any allergies or foods we disliked, and leaving the menu to them. I love this, as I always have trouble deciding, and find that leaving it to them means trying new and delicious things you may have otherwise missed out on.
The Commoner describes itself as Modern British. The British part is evident in the plating up, using mis-matched vintage plates and dishes that look as though they may have come from my Grandma’s cupboard. The modern part is demonstrated in the wide influence of cuisines that make their way into the menu: Spanish anchovies served on house-made thins of toast along with roasted capsicum and aioli are brought swiftly to us as a hors d’oeuvre. Delicious. Even Bf-B, who isn’t all that partial to anchovies, ate them happily. We’d eaten 2 before I remembered to take a photo!
These were followed quickly by a selection of starters including scotch eggs served with piccalilli and onion jam (how British!), cheese croquettes served with a leek mayo, deep fried chillis, and some bread and olive oil. These chillies are quite mild, however, 1/10 of them are really spicy. I love the anticipation as you bite into them, wondering if you’re the unlucky 10th person. Bf-B and I shared the pain equally, with each of us picking only 1 spicy chilli each from the bowl of maybe 25. I like those odds.
Delighted with what we’d had so far, I eagerly anticipated what was to come. Next up: Semolina gnocchi served with swiss chard. This was definitely Bf-B’s favourite meal of the night, his face conveying an expression of utter bliss with each bite. I will definitely need to try and re-create this one at home!
Then came the main event: Roast pork belly served on lentils with pork “lamingtons”, with green beans and roast kipfler potatoes. With such a build up, I must say I was a little disappointed with this one. While the lamingtons were melt-in-your mouth, the roast pork was a little dry, and could have used a little more jus (perhaps served in a side jug?).
To finish, there were 2 desserts: a rich golden syrup pud served with cream, and ricotta fritters served with a chocolate sauce. The pudding was so warming and moist, a great example of why British classics have survived the test of time. The ricotta fritters made for a great contrast: light and fluffy, they were like biting into (deep fried) clouds.
We left feeling full and completely satisfied. This is definitely a great place to take a partner on a special occasion. Or even just to treat yourself mid-week!