I am an academic living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne has to offer. You can also follow me on What's my DNA at https://travelfamily65.wordpress.com/author/travelfamily65/
Published September 4th 2018
Sardinian food at its best
Pilu at Freshwater redefines fine dining in its own way. Perhaps this has to do with where it is situated or with the multinational super friendly staff that work there.
Even on a cold rainy night Pilu exudes warmth and coziness
Situated in the north of Sydney, Pilu overlooks Freshwater Beach. a beach renowned for good surfing conditions and a laid-back lifestyle. The restaurant is located in a heritage-listed house which has been renovated to capture the beach atmosphere in a modern, almost Scandinavian manner. Because of its front beach position, the house used to be rented by large groups of surfers 40 or so years ago, or so my husband tells me. There are some photos scattered through the restaurant showing the old house in its original state. It is the perfect setting for lunch and dinner (especially in summer) and private events. A wedding for a 100 guests here would be wonderful. You can check out some of the past photos here The surrounding views could not be more perfect. Even in winter, the restaurant has a cosy, romantic feeling, you can hear the pounding surf and often the restaurant offers special offers and discounts (check out Dimmi, the booking platform).
Pilu serves authentic and contemporary Sardinian cuisine, a logical choice since the owner is Sardinian and takes great pride in the food of his heritage. In the cooking, Australian seasonal and local produce is paramount to Giovanni Pilu who has owned and cooked in the restaurant since 2004. Meals can be ordered from the a la carte or tasting menu here. We had the 5-course Sardo menu which had small dishes with exquisite flavours full of colour, zest, and requisite spiciness and the best part was, we didn't feel overfull, in fact just right. The wine list is extensive and offers a great selection of wines from Australia and Italy.
The staff were very professional, helpful and authentic. There were no airs and graces about them as sometimes happens in fine dining restaurants. they were helpful, listened, made suggestions but were not judgemental if we made a choice that perhaps was not the suggested pairing of wine and food. Their friendly attitude and willing engagement with us resulted in knowing all about their nationalities and life in Australia and elsewhere. Italian, German, Austrian and Finnish (as well as Australian). They showed enthusiasm and perfect knowledge of the food and wine served to us. Their pride in being part of this restaurant was palpable and I am sure that has a lot to do with the management of Pilu.
So if you are looking for a special dining experience with wonderful views, delicious food, and very friendly staff than Pilu is for you. And if on leaving you are enamoured with Sardinian food as I was, the owner's cookbook is on sale to take home.