Named after a small pool where the nuns from the local Stella Maris convent once swam, the restaurant, The Nuns’ Pool, is a coastal oasis with big windows that let in green foliage and great views. It is just metres from excellent surfing, snorkeling, and swimming, and the restaurant has become an integral part of the community.
The nuns were part of the same community and came from the convent which was built in 1924 by The Parramatta Congregation of The Sisters of Mercy. Soon after the convent’s establishment, the sisters took to swimming around a small rock formation on the coast. With a little work, the local, Cronulla community closed the area in for the sisters, so that they could have a true sea pool to swim in privately.
The Gentile family owns the ocean-side restaurant which opened in 2005, with their oldest son, Anthony Gentile, serving as Head Manager. “Like the original Nuns’ Pool, we are situated just outside the main hub of Cronulla,” said Anthony. “It’s such a family spot that’s it’s almost like an extension of people’s kitchens.”
The Nuns’ Pools serves wholesome, healthy, and delicious breakfast and lunch dishes, and all products are made onsite or sourced from boutique suppliers. Toby King is Head Chef and he has long-standing relationships with many local bakers and small-goods producers. This helps him get just what he needs to make him happy, whether truffle sausages from Pino’s Dolce Vita or sourdough from Thorough Bread and Pastry.
For breakfast, the restaurant serves house-baked muffins, cakes, and pastries, such as Bougatsa, a custard-filled Greek pastry topped with cinnamon and served warm. Its eggs are free-range, and, for something a little different, it offers The Nuns’ Breakfast, a dish of sweet corn fritters with rocket, roasted tomato, smoked salmon, sour cream, and avocado. For lunch, you’ll find pitas, sourdough sandwiches, the day’s freshly baked tart, gnocchi, burgers, and much more.
The restaurant takes its coffee seriously too, and Paul Bassett, who won the 2003 World Barista Championship, heads the coffee-portion of the restaurant. He personally roasts the restaurant’s house blend, and he oversees all of the restaurant’s baristas who are also professionally trained. With such experts on hand, it’s easy to see why so many people choose The Nuns’ Pool for a quick lunch with friends or coffee with colleagues.
The Nuns’ Pool also provides catering services for small events including weddings, and it recently expanded its offerings to include catering for office lunches. The venue itself can be rented, and its clean design and large windows make it an intimate venue for weddings and special functions.
“Cronulla is a hidden Gem,” said Anthony. “Cronulla has flown under the radar for a long time, but it is very quickly standing out as a culinary destination.”
With spots like The Nuns’ Pool, it’s easy to see why. Located across from Shelley Park, The Nuns’ Pool is child-friendly and has lots of parking.