A journey into the country to check out the Gold Coast’s food bowl and the Northern Rivers will not only provide you with fresh local produce to take home, but also fuel for the journey and inspiration. A stop at the right local café or restaurant can turn a daytime adventure into a perfect road trip, an experience to be treasured.
Tucker, at the Commons in Casuarina, is one such eatery. Opened in April 2018, Tucker is owned by Nick Pearce, founder of Blackboard, with business partners Phil Czerwonatis and Jordan O’Brien.
Described by the team as “Your new local…”, when we visited, the café was full of locals, greeted by name, the space not only serving family meals but also being used as a community hub, a solo work space and a meeting place over coffee.
Tucker is a display showcase of the best of local, the venue representing the surrounding landscape, created by local furniture makers ‘Frankly all by hand’, whose blackbutt tables are simply gorgeous, and local Tweed potter Marloe Marloe’s tableware, whose colours match and complement the earth-driven food.
“We are stoked to bring you good ‘Tucker’ and celebrate what this beautiful region has to offer…” the team tell us. What we find is a ‘100-mile table’ and what an apt name ‘tucker’ is, binding together connotations of local and native food with classic and iconic Aussie heritage.
Sourcing the best local produce from surrounding farms and artisan producers, most of Tucker’s menu is made in house, while still taking the opportunity to hero some exceptional local artisan producers: Bread Social sourdough and pastries, Heven-Yah gelato, Shroom Brothers mushrooms, Husk Distillery gin and of course ethically sourced Blackboard Coffee Roasters coffee, to name a few.
The all-day breakfast menu features some top dishes including Shrooms Brothers scrambled eggs on Bread Social sourdough, a local favourite on the menu, Rosti benedict served with your choice of bacon, chorizo or mushroom (half serve available), House made granola with maple-glazed nuts, charred pineapple, vanilla and chia yoghurt and local honeycomb, Green eggs with oregano and red onion vinaigrette, salsa verde and cress on a slice of gluten-free house-made quinoa chia loaf. Whole food, prime ingredients, a garden of colours and textures on every plate including elements of interest and surprise.
The lunch menu, commencing at 11am, widens the range to heartier dishes: Fish of the day being Pan fried kingfish with lemon-scented herbed couscous, Asian style zucchini and rich pumpkin purée when we visited, Balter-battered line-caught fish with chips, Shroom Brothers mushroom pasta with confit garlic, truffle oil and pecorino, and Free-range chicken salad with lemon hummus, charred cauli, quinoa and smoked almonds…
You’ll find steak, fish, chicken, salads and a burger on the menu, the known staples given a fresh modern twist to become new classics. Beautifully presented with care and attention to flavour combinations and seasoning by the team of chefs, this is inspirational dining.
As if this isn’t great enough, with the venue licensed from 10am, a Mimosa, Blackboard espresso martini or Bloody Mary is not out of the question for brunch or lunch. The dining area extends out onto a grassed common, and the Tucker team are due to open a pizza/bakery opposite the café in mid-April 2020.
Every piece of Tucker’s well-conceived design and food adds up to form the story of our cultural landscape in a way that few have done. “This is who we are,” Tucker tells us, “our land, our food, our artisan creators. Come and join in the feast.”
480 Casuarina Way, Casuarina NSW Open: Mon – Sun 7am – 3pm