There’s something quite special about dining at a restaurant and being able to see the soil your food was grown in, directly from your seat. That’s just part of the magic of Acre Artarmon, which opens tomorrow, October 30, as part of the HomeHQ hub. It’s the expansive new venue from the team behind Acre Eatery in Camperdown and Melbourne’s Acre Farm & Eatery, both of which are famed for growing the produce they serve on-site.
The 2000-square-metre Artarmon site is half indoors, half outdoors and has been masterminded by interior designer Emilie Delalande (Barangaroo House). The space – which resembles an enormous greenhouse, its glass walls packed with greenery – encompasses a cafe bakery and a restaurant (opening November 6). Outdoor terraces offer plenty of room for customers to eat sweet treats from the bakery, order a pizza to enjoy al fresco, soak up the gardens and admire the resident chooks.
“Our Artarmon location will be different to our other locations,” Acre director Luke Heard tells Broadsheet. “It’s trying to create an urban oasis. Artarmon is a semi-industrial, commercial area, and there’s a lot of concrete here. So we’ve tried to bring a lot of natural plant life into the space so people can get away from the grind of living among the big city and escape for a while. The indoor space here feels a bit like the outdoors, like the indoor part of a nursery.”
At one end of the building is the cafe and bakery, with pastries, focaccias, sausage rolls and pies all baked in-house if you’re after something light. There’s also an all-day menu including hotcakes with summer berries, and chilli scrambled eggs or braised brisket on a milk bun or toast. From midday, a beef burger and lasagne are added to the menu, and you can match your meal with single-origin coffee or booze. There’s a short wine list of light-leaning drops, local brews on tap, and a bright cocktail menu. As at Acre Camperdown, mixed drinks are inspired by the lush garden surrounds – think spritzes and strawberry Mimosas
Head down the other end of the building for the restaurant, which is a spin-off of Acre Camperdown’s annual Italian pop-up. The menu uses ingredients such as basil grown in the farm’s hydroponic system and tomatoes that climb behind the banquette seating.
A woodfired oven pumps out a selection of pizza, including margherita and gamberi (prawn). Expect other Italian-inspired classics such as burrata with tomato and green oil, puttanesca pasta, spanner-crab linguine and chicken cotoletta. House-made gelato will also be on the menu (and included in an ice-cream sandwich, made with a milk bun and Nutella). Here the cocktails have a European flavour, with barrel-aged Negroni, Garibaldi (Campari and orange juice) and Sgroppino (prosecco and vodka mixed with sorbet)
Like its Camperdown counterpart, Acre Artarmon will host a range of workshops. In the kitchen, punters will learn how to make focaccia (and get in on the focaccia-art trend), as well as simple recipes for sausage rolls and pies. Gardening workshops will pay mind to the fact that many nearby neighbourhoods are low on living space, with tips for building small gardens on apartment balconies.
1 Frederick Street, Artarmon
Restaurant and terrace
Fri & Sat 11.30am–11pm
Cafe and bakery