Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Pilu at Freshwater, Freshwater

A couple of days ago, a nice little drive north of the city with my friend brings us past Spit Bridge and on towards Pilu at Freshwater. Prized for its strict adherence to head chef Giovanni Pilu's Sardinian origins, we're keen for the nice deviation from the guilty blind carb load that other Italian eateries usually present. 

There's a kiosk for casual dining at the front and a entrance on the side for their fine dining. Entrance through their side brings you through their well pruned garden that's versatile enough to be the background of the wedding later on that night.

Set against the back drop of Freshwater Beach, our seats beside the window provide ample enjoyment. The restaurant is reminiscent of what one would imagine to be a retiree's beach house with modern and befittingly fading soft colour palate, quirky lights and not a set of stainless steel in sight besides the bar. 

Soft and gentle waves across the beach bring us to peace and it makes kicking back and ordering from their very very extensive menu so much easier. Seriously, our table was flooded with sheets before anything else.

Their thick apperitif list is puzzling but efficient and warm service aids you along. We still had a little trouble however, chucking between the degustation or the a la carte but we ended up deciding on picking our own dishes due to our limited stomach capacity. 

Passione 19
From what I hear, the passion fruit cocktail is eye-puckeringly sour but still enjoyable.

Chewy crust, warm fluffy inside, good olive oil, needless to say we asked for more. 3 servings of bread later, we were still going onto our fourth plate to help mop up the sauces.

Fontina, Polenta, Concasse Tomatoes
We begin with a little amuse on the house. Creamy fontina and polenta cubes are great vehicles to carry out the tomato flavour.

Pane frattau 27
'Carta di Musica' layered with tomato, Pecorino and a 61°C soft cooked free range egg 
The theme of good tomato flavour also continues on with my entree. Paper thin slightly crisp 'Carta Di Musica' and creamy soft-cooked egg really brings up the intensity and allows the texture and flavour of the robust tomatoes to shine. 

Spaghettoni, noci, calamari, Carasau e bottarga di Pilu 28
Spaghettoni, walnuts, calamari, crispy Sardinian bread and Pilu Bottarga
For our other entree with get a calamari spaghettoni. It's quite clever how they miggle the strands of calamari and pasta which really creates an interesting texture contrasts. There's a lot of flavour in there but feels unspectacular. I must also comment about the cooking of pasta at fine dining eateries which is always tends to be slightly 'undercooked' so I got a little more chew than I'm used to but I'm still undecided on what I think of it.

Culurzones di patate, menta, Pecorino e burro ai pomodori secchi 28
Ravioli of potato, mind and Pecorino with tomato butter
One of their most popular dishes is their quite commonly coined 'carb on carb' dish. It's a potato puree wrapped within four delicate little parcels of raviolli. It's really interesting; being able to carry on rich tomato butter quite well while still being a standout.  

Controfiletto di vietello in crosta di carasau, acetosella e cavoletti di bruxelles 45
Holstein veal backstrap in 'pane carasau' crust, sorrel and brussel sprouts
Two pieces of veal for my main honestly feels incredibly meager. Probably not my usual choice of protein and although it was difficult to cut and didn't have a lot of marbelling, it was surprisingly tender. Slightly bitter brussel sprout leaves and sorrel puree rounds out the flavours but it still feels insubstantial in the end.

Dentice alla Vernccia di Oristano e olive verdi 44
Whole baby snapper oven baked with Vernaccia and green olives
The fish on the other hand was outstanding. This is a must have dish. A gorgeously silky, eggy butter sauce, infused with a light Vernaccia, wonderfully coats the generous serving of the snapper's yielding flesh. It's just utterly amazing how much depth they got into the sauce and one would never think to use salty olives but it works wonders to counteract that richness. 

Insalata di patate, cipolle e prezzemolo 10
Warm potato salad, onion and parsley
The additional side of potatoes and caramelised sweet onions helps on sucking up a lot of that delicious Vernaccia sauce.

Fichi, biscotto all'oili d'oliva, gelatina al pecorino e gelato di fichi e mirto 18
Black figs, olive oil crumble and fig and mirto gelato
Beautifully presented, well balanced and lightly refreshing; the figs were used masterfully so that they weren't overpowering. The olive oil flavour wasn't that prominent but I do like how the crumble is more sandy then crunchy which is quite nice for this dish.

Affogato Sardo al caffe 18
Vanilla bean gelato wtih espresso and miro (Sardinian myrtle liqueur
The kick of liquor wasn't that prominent but they've nailed the espresso; bitter (not to everyone's tastes) and aromatic is balanced with smooth and slightly more neutral vanilla bean gelato. Bravo.

Seadas di ricotta con miele di mille fiori 18
Sardinian pastry with fresh ricotta and sultanas, served with warm mille fiori honey
We get all excited about the crispy blistered sardanian pastry encasing a fresh mild ricotta and little bursts of sugary sultanas simply drizzled with some warm honey, a dusting of icing sugar and a candied circle or orange. It's very simple and well executed but it feels like it could be better served as a petit fours instead rather than an actual dessert course.

Italian Hot Chocolate 7
Traditional, thick Italian hot chocolate served with whipped cream
Their thick and heartwarming hot chocolate warms up our cold bodies. That and their airy scottish biscuits and macaroons are a wonderful finish to the day and a reminder of why this place is so good. 

Pilu at Freshwater holds a special place in my heart. My friends know why and you, dear readers, might even know why in the future. Just know that this place is magical. Prices are dear but the food is up there with the best of them; inspired, vibrant and classic. It doesn't push boundaries but it does things right. Bellissimo.

If you're feeling stressed, just travel down north and be ready to forget all about your worries. Time comes to a stand still, and nothing matters except the view and the food in front of you. As we say our goodbyes, we realise we're not ready to re-enter our high-octane lives again. 

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Carbs on carbs sounds like my kinda bliss. lol. The veal sounds amazing too.

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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