Sitting calmly on Freshwater beach, the restaurant is a true reflection of both Sydney’s and Sardinia’s irresistible sand and sea. The restaurant aesthetic has a laid-back beach vibe doused in baby blue hues, crisp white finishes, and rustic wooden floorboards. With views looking directly out onto the ocean, it is easy to be swept away by the majesty of the natural realm.
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As I follow the hedge-lined brick path to the entrance of Pilu, I can hear the waves gently crashing onto the sand on the beach below. I can hear the laughter of children as young families frolic about, building sandcastles and making the most of the last few days of Summer’s daylight saving. I can taste the salty moisture from the gentle sea breeze on my lips. A moment ago I was stuck in traffic and yet now, I feel as relaxed as if I was lying on a beach in Fiji with a mojito in hand.
The unassuming facade of Pilu gives diners little idea of what to expect behind the walls of this restored heritage-listed weatherboard beach house. Vibrant paintings of yachts on Sydney Harbour adorn the pristine white walls while, above, the high ceilings reveal exposed original white timber beams. At the centre of the restaurant is the semi-open kitchen and bar while the stunning balcony offers 270 degree views of the beach below. Glass cabinets full of aged grappa and wine line the restaurant, and efficient staff strut around in blue-and-white striped shirts, overflowing with knowledge about everything from the cooking process of their home made sourdough to the specifics of a merlot on the 42-page wine list. Pilu at Freshwater is a classic mix of old and new – from the ages of the waitstaff to the restaurant’s sleek, yet classic design.
The menu speaks to the inner Italian in us all with classics such as pecorino, mint and burnt butter ravioli and osso bucco. But it is also celebrates the best of our Australian produce from the Sydney rock oysters to the Crystal bay prawns. An entree of lightly battered zucchini flower and Claire de Lune oyster, with fried squid and Crystal Bay prawn is the perfect teaser – with just the right amount of crunch and saltiness to get the taste buds in action. The secondi features King salmon, served in a ‘crazy’ water with baby golden beets, purple carrots and watercress. It is simple, yet elegant.
The meal has now ended and yet I don’t want to move. Savouring the last flavours of the ‘crazy’ water in my mouth, I put my knife and fork gently down and sit very still, gazing out over the beach below. Dark now, the water sparkles as it reflects the lights from the surrounding houses. A night at Pilu is like escaping life for a few short hours. It is a fine-dining restaurant, minus the pretension. It is warm and relaxed. Reluctantly, I ask for the bill, turn my phone back on and prepare myself to come back to reality.