The perfect stylish Sydney Sunday lunch is to find a beachside restaurant with great food and wonderful view. Pilu ticks most of the boxes, sitting on a hill overlooking Freshwater Beach; it has smart beach chic décor, and a great reputation for Sardinian food (17/20 and two hats in the SMH GFG).
It is a smart restaurant with most people wearing their Sunday glad rags, service is very smooth and professional, which starts with the booking: “come along at 2:30 we can sit you in the window” and true to their word the table was perfect.
Two menus to choose from, a $105 Sardinian tasting menu, and ALC; We chose to construct our own degustation by ordering oysters, two entrees and two mains, but then asking for them to be split and served one after another making five course; they are happy to oblige.
First the oysters, good and plump, good flavour and creamy texture, served with a fine shallot/vinegar which was not overpowering but had a nice kick. The first entrée was a frito misto, a good selection of seafood, although the batter on the fish was more F&C shop than fine diner, it was tasty but could have been a little more refined.
Next a special, Tonarelli (square spaghetti) with a long slow cooked lamb ragu and olives, the lamb falls apart and flavour is amazing. The tonarelli is interesting, not only the square shape and also the texture, more reminiscent of Chinese egg noodles than pasta.
The first main is pan fried Mulloway with baby fennel and olive puree’s, crispy fennel and asparagus. The fish is good and crisp on one side and the purees add an interesting dimension. The olive one is very defined by the fennel one less so; it is almost a puree of anonymous vegetable. Our final main is the signature dish of long roast suckling pig with home made sausages, and condiments consisting of a good apple puree and a pesto like paste, we accompanied this with a mixed portion of roast potatoes and green beans. It is superb, and justifiably a signature dish.
It is a very fine restaurant, worth the trip out to Manley and perfect for a long lunch. Service was impeccable throughout the meal and we enjoyed every dish. The wine list is long and deep in Italians varieties, we asked for help and enjoyed a good Sardinian white (Stellato Pala Vermentin) and red (Pala Triente Cannonau). Total bill was $280 for two, including $116 for the wine.
If anyone is familiar with Michelin I would put this at a good one star level, some dishes, and service edging to two, but probably not enough flavour definition to get two.