Giro Osteria is another welcome addition to the restaurant landscape for Cronulla residents, who have seen their dining options expand greatly in recent years. Since August 2013 the venue has been bringing an authentic taste of southern Italy to the southern limits of Sydney, in a charming and romantic location with views of parklands, the beach, and the smell of the ocean breeze wafting through.
If you’re going to use seawater as a main ingredient for your signature dish then it helps to be located in one of the city’s best-loved beach suburbs. Of course, that also gives you an incredible setting.
Owners, Oriana De Luca and Joe Natale (who also owns Alphabet St Thai in Cronulla), manage the front of house duties themselves, and clearly they love what they do. This is reflected in the careful and generous service you will receive from them. When you add in the attention to detail in the cuisine they serve, a lunch or dinner here becomes a special occasion.
An Italian osteria is a place that serves wine and simple food, and that ethos is largely followed here. Fine ingredients imported from Italy work side by side with those sourced locally by the owners and Head Chef, Ruben Martinez. These are worked into simple, flavoursome dishes where the ingredients are allowed to speak for themselves and sit well with most of their wines which are also authentic Italian.
Ruben, who comes from South America, has worked in many reputable restaurants, and his travels around Europe concreted his love affair with regional Italian cooking. The emphasis on using locally-produced, seasonal ingredients has always been a driving force for him.
Banksia nuts from Dunningham Park are used for smoking the quails; Morella olive oil is sourced from Griffith; the sourdough bread is baked by Nick from Alley Break Cafe, just a stone’s throw away, ensuring that it arrives still warm; and the salumi is from Pino’s Dolce Vita in nearby Kogarah.
The focus is firmly on classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. The signature dish, Pesce all’ Acqua Pazza, means ‘fish in crazy water’. This is a fresh, plate-size snapper, cooked in sea water, with cherry truss tomatoes, herbs, and Morella olive oil, and served with crusty bread to mop up all the fabulous sauce. It is a simple dish from the Amalfi region of Italy, and chef Ruben is just as protective as native Italians about the dish, insisting that it must be cooked southern Italian style in real filtered seawater – available right there in abundance on Cronulla beach, of course.
Ruben says that South Americans share the same passion for life, food and family gatherings that the Italians do, so he feels right at home with life at Giro Osteria. He said, “Set in one of the most beautiful beach locations I have ever worked in, we are proud to have our Osteria with a short menu providing balance, simplistic food created with care and attention to detail and flavours.”