If you want your weekend to feel more like a holiday, find a restaurant right on the water. There is something about sitting next to the sparkling harbour that means lunch will stretch on a little longer, and lead to that extra glass of wine. Chiosco (kiosk in Italian) by Ormeggio is open on three sides, under a marquee-like structure on the jetty at Spit Bridge, so you’re sitting right among the boats with a view of Pearl Bay.
Head chef Alessandro Pavoni serves “Italian street food” at this casual offshoot of Ormeggio at The Spit, the kind of food, “You can buy when you’re walking around Italy,” Pavoni says. “We have arrosticini [lamb skewers] in southern Italy. In Venice, the water is all around us and the focus is on seafood. So at Chiosco, there is lamb on the charcoal and really light seafood dishes; all very fresh, quick, handmade Italian food,” At the moment it’s BYO only, with a few quality mocktails such as strawberry and rose caipiroska.
Generous king prawns are split down the middle and grilled over charcoal. In fact, anything from the charcoal section is a safe bet; Pavoni clearly loves using it and for good reason. It gives a simple protein, such as octopus or snapper, a smoky depth of flavour so little else needs to be added. A few pastas to share is advised. The varieties are classic, simple and northern-Italian. The puttanesca is perfectly salty, spicy and rich. The secret? “The way you do your tomato sauce in Napoli is very important,” is all Pavoni will reveal. But his other tip is don’t hold back on the salt when cooking your pasta in boiling water.
If you’re lucky enough to own a boat, you can order ahead, park at a free mooring nearby through the restaurant and it will run out a decadent picnic for your day on the water. In Sydney, you can’t get closer to an afternoon on the Italian coast than that.
Chiosco by Ormeggio
The Jetty, The Spit Marina, Spit Road, Mosman
Mon & Tue 8am–3pm
Wed to Sun 8am–10pm