Pilu, Somewhere on the Northern Beaches

Pilu is one of those places that makes your life better.

Sardinian-born Chef Giovanni Pilu and his wife Marilyn,  opened the doors of Pilu in 2004. They have earned two Chefs Hats by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide. (Michelin star ratings don’t exist in Australia)

The restaurant’s location is that of the first building in the area. Freshwater because the original subdivision had a freshwater creek running through it. Upon subdivision an area was divided to Cecelua Harbord (Lord Carrington’s wife) the area was used as a men’s only workers camp until after World War 1. It was during the management of these camps that the building was built in 1908. It has in its past also been the local Post Office.

Giovanni Pilu has been at the restaurant for more than ten years. He arrived in Australia at the age of twenty in 1992. His food is both authentic regional Italian cuisine and contemporary and fresh. Giovanni uses both imported produce and locally sourced produce. He believes the ingredients should speak for themselves. Food should not be fussy and the pairing of the right foods is what makes a dish. The ability to maintain traditional Sardinian dishes with contemporary twists without loosing the original concept is really quiet an art.

A menu is only a menu without the artful presentation as the highly skilled waiters bring dishes to the table. The sommelier is a wonderfully intelligent Italian man who will match your italian wine to your Australian wine tastes. I like a Reisling or a Pinot Gris, a perfect Italian equivalent was recommended. I like deep pink rose, amazing, there is an Italian equivalent.

One of my husbands cousins stated he didn’t like fine dining as it’s just a waste of money and the food is not that great! Oh! The food is absolutely that great! But what you missed my friend is the accompanying dance. When you enter the  front door, you are greeted by smiling staff and led to you table overlooking the beach. The food is presented in cork plates and roughly cut chopping boards. There is art yes, but fuss? Detail yes, but fuss is left behind as few ingredients are placed on the plate and those that are there are left to sing for themselves.

As you look around the room, it’s not full of just lovers but families celebrating big dates or groups highlighting Sydney’s best to overseas guests. There’s no celebrity spotting types out (we just leave them in peace), just food lovers enjoying their Saturday lunch.

Perhaps it’s the fact he is a MAMIL (middle aged man in Lycra) and often riding up and down the peninsular that he understands fresh food and simple food and wgat refuels his body.

We have been here a large number of times. My dearest friend was married here. It’s a special place for me. On one birthday the waiter came out with dessert singing happy birthday in Italian opera ( I thought my husband was clever indeed) the staff are attentive and pick up on detail. They take note of small things. Most of all I love that it’s not pompous and over the top. It’s special but remains charming and intimate. There is love in the room. A lot of restaurants strive to create that and fail. Many italian will tell you ‘love is love’. You need to put it there for it to be there.

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