PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
The Commoner is small and casual, with a terrazzo floor, bare tables and white moulded chairs, and decor that looks domestically chic. Owner Jo Corrigan, who cooks on Sunday nights, worked for many years in London and learnt about seasonality and freshness from the bright new stars on the scene. Chef Matt Donnelly worked at Moro's in London, picking up on similar ideas only with Middle Eastern influences. The result of the collaboration is great food that's fresh as can be. The menu changes every month according to what's around, so some dishes come and go faster than others and there are daily changing specials.
Breakfast starts at 10am and there are small dishes to nibble at any time of day. The sandwiches after noon are brilliant (try the Jerusalem) and there's a range of small dishes that suffice as first courses for dinner. White anchovies are simple and appetising with roasted red pepper and aioli on crostini. Classic dishes are prepared beautifully; just when you thought you might give up chicken, along comes the Commoner's pan-roasted chook. The day's fish is cooked on a wood fire in the small courtyard, which is open to diners in summer. The wine list is small but well chosen and the cocktails are seriously interesting. So is Sunday night pot luck. Delicious.