On my about me page I talk about considering myself ‘almost Italian at heart’. I love everything about the relationship the Italians have with food – it’s fresh, seasonal, social, generous and hearty. So, it should come as no surprise that Chiosco by Ormeggio was the location of my first dinner date of 2015.
I was excited by Chiosco before it even opened, and not just because of its ‘Italian street food’ menu. Chiosco also boasts 200-300 degree views of Sydney’s Middle Harbour, BYO wine and a casual feel that’s so relaxed they call it ‘bare-foot dining’.
Being located on the jetty of D’Albora Marina at the Spit also makes it a great spot to watch the sunset and to admire the surrounding million dollar boats. It’s one of those places where you immediately forget any worries and feel very lucky to live in Sydney.
Alessandro Pavoni, the co-owner of Chiosco, is also Head Chef at the successful neighbouring restaurant Ormeggio at The Spit. Ormeggio is one of Australia’s top fine dining Italian restaurants, and has been chefs hatted since opening in 2009 (see my Ormeggio post here).
Chiosco’s Head Chef Alex Joslyn has worked with some of Sydney’s top chefs including Alessandro and Giovanni Pilu, so you can be sure you’re in experienced hands. The concept behind Chiosco is Italian street food – a type of cuisine that Alex believes is both varied and interesting and ‘perfectly suited to Sydney’. It is also perfectly suited to my tastebuds.
At Chiosco there are no entrees or main courses as such but rather the menu is made up of generous sharing plates. Choose from deli items such as the daily fish crudo, house made pastas, fried dishes like zucchini flowers, or a range of fish and meats cooked on the charcoal grill.
As they say on the menu itself ‘each dish is designed to be shared’ and ‘order a good selection to try!’ The great thing about the shared plate menu is that you’re not restricted to two dishes per person or one dish from each section – perfect if like me you want to try as much as you can. For $55 per person you can also choose the ‘Chefs Sharing Feast’ – it is designed for the whole table to share so is especially good for big groups. My advice would be to go to Chiosco hungry and don’t hesitate to be a little bit greedy.
It’s also worth noting that Chiosco offers a kiosk menu (outside of set lunch and dinner hours) as well as a full breakfast on weekends. I’m already planning a walk from Manly to the Spit with a friend to give me an excuse to drop in and try their beef burger or fish and chips.
As at January 2015 Chiosco hasn’t yet received their liquor licence. But, don’t panic at the thought of a Sydney harbour lunch with a chilled rose or a few beers – because you can BYO for a reasonable corkage charge per bottle. Otherwise you can order from a drinks list that includes juices, mocktails and smoothies.
Over the course of a couple of hours accompanied by a bottle of champagne and a perfect Sydney sunset I enjoyed a good selection from the menu. Here it is:
Overall the Chiosco experience mirrors my earlier remarks about Italian food being fresh, seasonal, social, generous and hearty. It’s the kind of food I would expect to find locals queuing up for in Milan or Bologna (down a lane way far away from the reach of tourists). And, what makes Chiosco extra special is that the focus on quality comes through on every plate, despite the everyday dining price point. Whether in the Italian burrata, the house made pasta or the Ormeggio bakery organic sourdough bread.
My highlight? It’s a tough one to call because every dish caused lots of ‘mmms’ and ‘how good is this’ type reactions, but I’d probably say the charcoal octopus skewers and the suppli (crumbed risotto balls) stand out.
Chiosco was my first meal out in 2015. With a second visit already booked for later in January, it’s safe to say that Chiosco will be my home away from home for hearty and honest Italian food in 2015 (sorry Café Sopra). I like it so much that I prolonged publishing this post – for fear that word will start to spread too quickly and that sunny table for two in the corner will become very highly contested……
- The Jetty, d’Albora Marina, The Spit, Spit Road, Mosman NSW 2088
- 02 9046 7333
- Open daily from 8am, full breakfast weekends only, lunch daily, dinner Wed to Sun