You may not have heard of the Gordon family, but you’ve likely eaten off its creations. Robert Gordon Pottery has been a fixture of the restaurant industry since 1945, with stoneware that’s found its way onto the tables of some of Australia’s finest restaurants – including Vue de Monde, Longrain Sydney, Grossi Florentino and the now-closed Pope Joan.
After more than half a century of supporting other venues, the Gordons have launched a restaurant of their own. This Pakenham eatery might seem like the logical next step for a family so steeped in the industry, but it is an unusual one, in that much of the concept centres around showcasing the plating.
Robert Gordon Kitchen sits within the family’s pottery factory, which churns out around 300,000 pots a year. It’s an industrial space, high-ceilinged and open, but the 60-seat dining room is transformed by moody lighting, locally made furniture, timber panelling encasing a part-open kitchen, and pile upon pile of ceramics in soft greens and ivory.
“It was a natural progression to open this kitchen,” says company director (and son of founders Robert and Barbara) Sam Gordon. “We have a deep understanding of how chefs work.”
British-born Chris Henderson – former head chef at the Big Group, which oversees Spring Racing marquees among other big-ticket events – has created a menu that, in the spirit of a true family-owned venture, oozes comfort.
Expect hearty British fare sprinkled with influences from Melbourne and the wider Asia-Pacific region, such as hot chips with malt-vinegar mayo; cumin fried rice with curry-roasted cod; pear brûlée Bircher muesli with maple yoghurt; house-made baked beans; chilli scrambled eggs with Sriracha and sesame; and the Proper Bacon Sandwich, which is crisp smoked bacon and HP sauce on sourdough that has been heartily slathered in salted butter.
To drink, there are raspberry kombucha spiders, chocolate thickshakes and pots of English Breakfast tea.
There’s an interactive spirit here too – there are workshops where you can paint your own pottery, and a decorate-your-own cupcake menu option for kids and kid-like adults.
“There are 10 grandchildren among us and we designed the plate especially so it’s like a deconstructed cupcake,” Gordon says. “Watching the children at parties and seeing how they deconstruct cupcakes and eat them separately, we wanted to emulate that.”
There are plans to expand upon the hands-on aspects of the venture and open the space up for Friday night pottery classes paired with dinner.
Robert Gordon Kitchen
114 Mulcahy Road, Pakenham
(03) 5941 3302
Mon to Sat 9am to 5pm
Sun 10am to 4pm