Osteria Coogee, just off Coogee’s main drag, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, quietly opened in May 2019. It's a project that’s close to the hearts of the local power couple running it.
Chef Regan Porteous (Tequila Mockingbird, Stanton & Co) is the director and Italian native Carolina Angelucci (Toko, Riley Street Garage) is the general manager, and their bustling diner delivers Italian flavours with a distinctly coastal vibe.
Chef Porteous wanted his menu to represent the relaxed and friendly feel of mealtime in an Italian family household. It’s a feeling the chef – whose resume includes Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and Gordon Ramsay’s now-closed Maze in London – knows well.
A single bite of a calamari and lemon dish prepared by Angelucci’s father in Francavilla al Mare, their coastal hometown east of Rome, led to a culinary epiphany. His Coogee-fied version of that fateful crudo – sheets of raw kingfish dotted with black garlic puree, floating in a sea of lemon juice and parsley oil – now headlines Osteria’s seafood-heavy menu. It joins other Italian classics like creamy burrata, truffle-spiked gnocchi and a house-made pappardelle served with lamb shoulder (cooked overnight in lamb fat).
Shared plates range from small bites (such as charred octopus with a textural ‘nduja and slick white-bean puree) to the more sizable Cone Bay barramundi and spatchcock served with caponata (the bird is topped with a still-smouldering bouquet of lightly-torched herbs).
For those unable to choose, the sun-filled diner’s “mangia” menu – and the larger “mangiamo” option – leave you in the capable hands of the kitchen. (Both words are derived from the Italian for “eat”.)
This is the 16th venue Porteous has helped open, but it’s the first opening he hasn’t spent in the kitchen. At Osteria Coogee, head chef duties are being fulfilled by Stefano Gagliardi, a childhood friend of Angelucci and fellow Francavilla al Mare native.
The wine list has been compiled by Binod Shrestha, also formerly of Toko, and features a comfortable mix of highlights from both Italy and Australia. The cocktail list has a similar Italian vibe.