Camelia Grove Hotel
The Camelia Grove underwent a massive overhaul and the result is an unabashedly family friendly pub with a bloody good Italian kitchen.
June 30, 2023
The Camelia Grove Hotel, formerly known as 'The Cammy' to the Alexandria locals who frequented its once-unremarkable front bar, has taken on a whole new personality after undergoing major renovations and a change of ownership in 2020.
What was once, arguably, the least appealing and least patronised of establishments in Alexandria's pub scene is now a bright, highly appealing suburban pub with a deliberately family-friendly feel and notable Italian-inspired kitchen and trattoria.
In addition to the welcoming dining room that opens up into a light and leafy courtyard, the most transformational change at the Camelia Grove is in the kitchen. Headed up by Head Chef Giuseppe Fuzio, the kitchen is delivering several cuts above what you'd expect from the average pub menu.
Chef Giuseppe's approach combines premium Australian ingredients with inspiration and flavours from his Puglian heritage for a terrific lineup of elevated pub classics (yes, you can still get your schnitty), but the real star of the show is his carb-forward Italian fare. House-made pasta, wood-fired pizza and one of Sydney's best focaccias.
"Being from Bari in Puglia, I like to bring tradition into the menu but also feature less common recipes from the regions. For Camelia Grove, the experience is just like walking into a warm dining room or friend's sunny courtyard," Fuzio shared with Concrete Playground. "My vision was to create a menu that helped this with great produce, traditional-style Italian recipes and heart."
Highlights include the hand rolled gnocchi with wild mushrooms, the Kinkawooka mussels "impepata di cozze" with garlic and chilli served with a grilled sourdough off the secondi section of the menu ("a dish that reminds me of home in Puglia," says Fuzio), and a winning kingfish crudo that comes dressed with Italian colatura di alici (anchovy brine), served on buttermilk with pickled pomegranate, dill and lemon zest.
It's not just about the food, though. The Cammy's still got ample room for just downing schooners while you watch a game with a crew.
On the whole, this pub promises a lovely vibe, strong local patronage and warm community atmosphere. And like all good neighbourhood pubs it's open every day of the week.
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