Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pilu at Freshwater, Moore Road, Harbord

Pilu at Freshwater, Moore Road, Harbord
Saturday 29 April, 2006

My first impression of Pilu at Freshwater is the breathtaking location. Located directly on the beach at Freshwater, it offers uninterrupted views of the ocean and on a beautiful day it reminds you how lucky we are to live in Sydney. As you drive all the way down Moore Road to the beach you arrive in a public carpark (forget about getting a park here in summer) where the payment options are $14 all day or $4 per hour and they only accept coins. Seriously, who carries around that much coinage??? There is street parking further away and I would definitely opt for this next time.

The restaurant is in a heritage listed building, was known as Freshwater for many, many years and was a local institution. Now, the head chef is Giovanni Pilu, the restaurant has had a name change and the offers italian fare with a sardinian focus.

I arrived early and decided to check out the surroundings, the restaurant is a series of rooms and offers large brick terraces which would be perfect for a cocktail party. I found the restrooms and was about the enter when a male staff member came out. I hesitated as I thought I must have accidently walked into the men's. He smiled and asked if I was looking for the female restroom. I answered yes and he indicated I was in the right place. OK then...I entered only to walk in on a female staff member re-dressing. I won't speculate as to what was happening but ....what the@*!

My friends arrived and we had a good laugh about my experience. Our waiter (neither of the two I had encountered earlier in the restroom) was unfortunately a tad over enthusiastic and almost ordered everything for us, which I found very annoying. For example, OK ladies how about we start with some champagne and a starter of sardinian bread?

That said, we did decide to start with the Pane e casu - Crispy Sardinian bread, Pecorino Sardo and olives. The menu is in italian with the english translation underneath and everything looked sensational. The starter was served with a stack of bread, four small chunks of pecorino and a dish of olives. Too light on the pecorino...but still delicious.

We opted to share some entrees - Gamberoni al pomodorino leggermente piccante e fregola - Sauteed prawns with fregola, tomato and chilli and also the Calamari ripieni - lightly battered grilled calarmari with lemon. Both dishes were light, the flavours were divine and we could have easily eaten servings twice the size - the food was that good.

Fortunately we had a break between entree and main. My lunch buddies ordered Sella di agnello con broccolini, fregola e olive Bosane - Lamb rump with broccolini, fregola and Bosane olives and two of us ordered the Porcetto arrosto con pinzimonio -Oven roasted suckling pig with crudites of seasonal vegetables.

The suckling pig was the best meal I have enjoyed in ages. It was slow roasted for several hours and menu states that availability may be limited. Without sounding too over enthusiastic (like our waiter) - it was exquisite. The meat fell off the bone and the serving included huge cracking pieces too. Wow! It was also served with stewed baby apples.

The food is hard to fault and I would go back in a heartbeat to enjoy the suckling pig. The service annoyed me and our waiter needed to relax however the location and setting are beautiful and I would highly recommend lunch so that you can take in the stunning views.

Pilu at Freshwater - Moore Road, Harbord - (02) 9938 3331


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