Authentic Italian dining in Freshwater Creek

April 30, 2023 BY

On the menu you'll find an array of antipasto, hand-made wood-fired bread and hand-made pastas, seafood and meat dishes, and a dessert, all made using locally-sourced seasonal produce.

Common Ground Project is making a name for sustainable, seasonal fine dining on the Surf Coast with their rustic Italian restaurant La Cantina.

La Cantina is the project’s on-site authentic Italian restaurant run by experienced husband-and-wife duo, head chef Lolo Hanser and Glenn Laurie heading up front-of-house.

Both Hanser and Laurie have impressive resumes, including their work at one of the world’s most famous Italian restaurants, The River Cafe in London, and running highly regarded Little Black Pig & Sons in Heidelberg.

La Cantina is led by husband-and-wife duo, Lolo Hanser and Glenn Laurie. Photos: LA CANTINA


The menu boasts rustic Italian dishes made using ingredients fresh from the four-acre Common Ground Garden and sustainably-minded local suppliers, and it changes with the seasons.

Common Ground chief executive officer Felicity Jacob said the menu regularly boasted a brilliant antipasti section of cured meats and cheeses, a myriad of handmade pastas alongside larger meat, fish and vegetable dishes made using ingredients from local suppliers.

She said in just two years, Hanser and Laurie had already collected impressive accolades for La Cantina, including receiving Chef’s Hat last year and placing number 38 in Victoria in Delicious Magazine.

“Glen and Lolo have had over 20 years’ experience in London, New York, and in Melbourne, so when the team met them, we thought ‘Yes let’s embrace what they have’.”

“Already they’ve had a huge bout of recognition for the unique offering that they’re offering – home-made pasta, home-made bread — everything is as local as it can be and a really unique offering.

“They received a Chef’s Hat in 2022, which we’re all very proud of.”

Deserts at La Cantina, made with sustainably-sourced local produce.


Jacob said the couple have brought to the community an authentic experience, with the farmhouse restaurant celebrating simple Italian flavours, using seasonal produce picked daily from the farm and other locally grown ingredients.

“Friday through to Monday they offer that really beautiful farm through to table experience.

“With the incredible opportunity to sample the produce from our farm in its most delicious form, dining at La Cantina is one of the many ways the community can connect with and support what we are doing here at Common Ground Project.

“We believe the best way to cook is with the seasons with the best suppliers and using the very best produce we have on hand.

“The menu is a family style shared menu that changes based on what we have on the farm and what local farmers have growing.”

Diners can settle in for a long lunch or dinner out, and wander through the kitchen gardens between courses.

The interior of La Cantina matches the rustic feel, with giant monstera plants, a corrugated iron roof and dark wooden floors.


Tables can be booked inside among the abundance of indoor places, with corrugated iron walls and wooden floors and or sit out on expansive deck overlooking the four-acre Common Ground Garden.

“A farmhouse restaurant with an iron roof, mismatched wooden tables, lots of greenery and views out to the farm, delicious aromas coming from the kitchen and warm, friendly staff.”

Alongside serving locally renowned dishes, La Cantina is supporting Common Ground’s vision through working with local social enterprises such as Diversitat, which finds housing and employment for new migrants to Geelong and the Surf Coast.

Through programs, workshops and the development of an on-site Food Hub, the Common Ground team is building the social enterprise to have greater impact within the community.

“Above all, we believe that connection to land, food, work and community can drive real meaningful social and environmental change,” Jacob said.

Visit La Cantina at 675 Anglesea Road, Freshwater Creek.

For more information, head to commongroundproject.com.au/la-cantina-restaurant .