Friday, 26 November 2010

food with a view

Blue skies, great company, food and wine...what more could you need? An unparralelled view of the ocean and the possibility of the all important post-lunch dip, of course. There are plenty of beachside dining options to choose from, and there's nothing wrong with a good old fish'n'chips session (only if followed by gelato), but if the sound of suckling pig panini or crisp salted cod fritters and a killer negroni sound more your speed, here are a few places to check out.

Pilu at Freshwater
On The Beach Moore Rd
Harbord 2096
(02) 9938 3331

As far as chefs go, you'd have to be pretty happy to be Giovanni Pilu. Take an acclaimed chef, known for his modern, fresh approach to Italian cuisine and a landmark restaurant location, perched above Freshwater beach and you have dining synergy. There's the more formal restaurant, boasting a menu that includes Sardinian-spiked dishes of quail wrapped in a blanket of pancetta, stuffed with chicken livers, potatoes and tarragon, served with figs, and Pilu's signature slow-roasted suckling pig with its delicate crackling....but if you're after something more casual, Pilu's kiosk boasts the same million dollar views, with a shoestring budget menu. Grab a suckling pig panino, a blanket and chow down, picnic-style on the headland, or sit in at the cafe's beach-chic digs.

North Bondi Italian
118-120 Ramsgate Ave,
North Bondi NSW
(02) 9300 4400
Any closer to the beach and you'd be dining waist-deep in the brine. Wedged beneath North Bondi RSL, North Bondi Italian has become a summer afternoon ritual for locals and a must-do for visitors to the area. Balmy afternoons in the summer see the balcony crowded with punters sipping prosecco or the restaurant's killer version of the negroni before tucking into a seasonal menu of relaxed Italian dishes including dad's zampone (pig's trotters stuffed with cottechnino, marjoram, celery and spinach), baccala (deep fried salted cod fritters) or a seriously good steak. 

Honorable mentions in the area: Sean's Panaroma, Icebergs Dining Room
Jonah's at Whale Beach
69 Bynya Rd
Palm Beach NSW 2108
(02) 9974 5599
If you're up for the drive, nothing quite says 'summer by the beach' than Whale... Beach. Past the weekender homes, you'll find Jonah's at Whale Beach - home of one of the best renditions of pannacotta in the state, with its pointy boob-jiggly texture, crowned with burnt lavender honey and pomegranates (who care's aboutt the passage of food trends, when it's this good?). Preceed it with a plate of seared Palmer's Island mulloway, lobster, scallop and prawn boudin, served with ruby grapefruit and crunchy school prawns and enlightenment can't be far away. 
Breakfast is nothing to snip at either, check out the huevos con chorizo: fried eggs with chorizo, capsicum, tomato salsa, corn tortillas and sour cream. Worth the drive, and then some.

Other visits worth the drive: Stefano Manfredi's Bells at Killcare, Rick Stein's Bannisters in Mollymook.