Cronulla has been carving out a new reputation for itself. While it’s already known for its beautiful beaches, it’s less known for its hospitality scene. Over the past six months a cocktail bar serving tropical tapas; two American-style burger joints, an oyster bar, a sleek cafe and an LA-inspired restaurant have opened in the neighbourhood. It’s undergoing an exciting renaissance and these are the venues driving it.
Henry’s may look like a casual eatery from the outside, but it’s serious about its seafood. Paul Kelly, the designer behind Salaryman and Sokyo, is responsible for the smart, European-style courtyard. Executive chef Rafael Tonon has designed an innovative rotating menu that features kingfish crudo with lime, burnt mandarin and burnt chilli. And yellowfin tuna “nachos” with ponzu gel, wasabi and prawn crackers.
Despite being hard to find, Jake Chalmers has made a name for itself in the few weeks since it opened. This burger joint is all about simple, American-style comfort food – a soft, sloppier style of burger. The classic range uses an Asian-bakery milk bun stuffed with American cheese and meat patties. The patty has an 85:15 meat-to-fat ratio – just enough to keep the patties juicy. There’s also a fried-chicken patty with black garlic aioli; pork belly with crackling and slaw and a Maine-style lobster roll. Young Henrys tinnies are available, as are chocolate, strawberry, vanilla or caramel milkshakes, and a sweet 50c soft serve.
Eat Burger is best described as a fancy burger for the casual diner. The Gerrale Street eatery proves beachside locals enjoy a little truffle aioli with their Wagyu. The burger recipe uses two cuts of beef: brisket and chuck, with a bit of salt. The Wagyu burger comes with maple-glazed bacon, truffle aioli, tomato jam and pickled red onions. There’s also a sausage and scrambo burger for breakfast, or the Vego burger, with a spiced chickpea and zucchini patty with pickled carrot, hummus, coriander, iceberg lettuce and a house-made sweet-chilli sauce. Snacks include chicken wings, soft tacos and deep-fried pickles. To drink, try one of Eat’s sodas, fresh juices, shakes, beers, ciders, wines or cocktails. The soft serve or the Italian sundae is a solid way to finish.
Leave any pre-conceived ideas of a traditional oyster bar behind. Shucked dishes out oysters, burgers, cocktails and fried chicken to the sounds of Biggie Smalls. Sydney Rock Oysters are served cold with lemon, ponzu or lemongrass granita, or hot with mornay, panko or bacon. The Shucked burger comes with beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and secret sauce. Or there’s a cheeseburger with citrus-dill-battered flathead.
Blackwood Pantry is a well thought out breakfast and lunch machine. Designed by Luchetti Krelle, one of the most sought-after firms in Sydney’s hospitality scene, it brings the area’s cafe offering up to date. The menu features a decadent French toast with Szechuan poached peaches; a Buddha Bowl with fried eggs, quinoa, kale and roasted cauliflower topped with lemon and buttermilk dressing; and a dukkah-glazed lamb shoulder. Ex-Brewtown barista Sam Cornish takes care of the coffee with beans from Edition, Reuben Hills and Artificer on offer.
Inspired by the casual fine diners in Los Angeles, Gerrale Street Kitchen blurs the lines between breakfast, lunch and dinner. The ambitious 200-seat venue is split into two sections. One area is dedicated to coffee, wood-fired pizza, salads, sandwiches and roast meats. The other larger space does share plates. The tender lamb shoulder is a highlight. It’s marinated sous vide for 12 hours before it’s roasted in a pot with pearl barley and native saltbush. Wine is by the glass, bottle and on tap, cocktails are classic.