A leisurely meal made up of snacky, complementary plates is a favoured way to dine in Australia for a reason: it’s a bloody great time. You’ll likely try more on the menu and chit-chat through reviews of each dish, making claims for which is best and bagsing the last bites. It’s this share-focused way of eating that local husband-and-wife team Adam and Kylie Micola enjoy most – and which they thought Cronulla was missing.
“Cronulla is flanked by the Port Hacking river on one side and the ocean on the other,” Adam tells Broadsheet. “What we’ve found it’s lacked [compared] to its north-side brother Manly is that vibe of multiple eateries, multiple pubs and small bars. Locals have been so patriotic to the stalwarts of the area: your Jensens, your Summer Salts, your Sealevels – white tablecloths and entree, main, dessert.”
So, in comes Bobbys, the duo’s just-opened eatery, sitting just off the sand at the southern end of Cronulla Beach. The 115-seat space, formerly home to Zimzala, has had a Euro-inspired revamp across its main dining room and adjoining kiosk space. Deep rusty reds squiggle around the room, while rattan chairs pull up to terrazzo tabletops. The sweeping northerly views are in the running for Bobbys’ best feature, but they’re neck and neck with the seafood-heavy menu.
Executive chef Pablo Tordesillas (ex-Totti's, Otto) has devised an all-day menu that delivers both fresh small plates and beachside classics across the two spaces. After the saline kiss of an oyster you’re off and running into veg-powered small plates like grilled asparagus with whipped bottarga, oxheart tomatoes doused in a vibrant shallot vinaigrette, or fresh cucumbers dressed up with black olives and feta. There’s also grilled octopus, and a sweet prawn roll carrying a dollop of Sriracha mayo.
“[Mediterranean] is a really easy theme for us to go down,” says Adam. “Because the venue speaks for itself, right? The menu is so befitting of the location.” While the main space is well-suited to a celebratory meal, the menu has been created with beachgoers in mind, too. “We wanted to wind that Mediterranean, accessible menu and fit-out into ensuring everybody can come straight in off the beach,” Adam says. Broadsheet can confirm that a glass of something sparkly and an oily Cantabrian anchovy atop a crisp cracker is a fine combo for a summery Sydney day.
Larger proteins include a one-kilo rib eye, and a whole spatchcock grilled in herbs and garlic with a squeeze of lemon. It’s beachside dining, so there’s also whole snapper, plus classics if you’re not into sharing: beer-battered fish’n’chips, and a springtime dish of mafaldine with zucchini flowers and stracciatella.
Cronulla has a tight-knit community with a familial feel, and the name Bobbys keeps the space true to the place. “Bobby’s my father,” Adam says. “He’s still around – it’s not the late Bobby, it’s the current Bobby.” While it’s a nice ode, there was “nothing overly emotional about it. Dad was not onboard. We had to convince him.”
As far as local diners are concerned, not a whole lot more convincing will be needed when it comes to Bobby’s.
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