There’s a little sandstone building on Burton Street that’s no stranger to change. Originally a farmhouse, adjacent to the dairy and the convicts’ common gardens, it has seen much in its 160-year history. It’s been a residence, office, restaurant and more recently, a pop-up bar (The Pond by Pure Blonde). But with a fresh moniker, owners Christopher and Gabrielle Moore and Robert Barton settled it into something more permanent – The Commons, an eating-house with a locavore flavour.
What stays with you is the sense of local history, without it being too stuffy or bookish. There’s a Victorian feel to the front courtyard – complete with white pergola and hanging plants – a 60s retro vibe to the Downtown (downstairs) bar, pioneer simplicity to the central dinning room and speakeasy murmurs in the private loft dining room. Engaging staff recount the origins of the building when handling farmhouse lunches, carefully restored fireplaces beckon on cooler days, huge botanical tomes make for educated reading, and the kitchen happily reveals the provenance of its produce.
You can order and collect local, organic fruit’n’veg boxes every Wednesday and live music is on the cards, so you’d be forgiven for thinking the spirit of the market-square had been somehow infused into the old walls. Trends might come and go, but happily the sandstone – and hopefully The Commons – will remain.