Sydney's two-hatted restaurant Ormeggio at the Spit has given birth to a new venue, Chiosco. Located side by side on a Mosman jetty, Ormeggio and Chiosco are mere metres from the water's edge, with spectacular 300 degree views of luxury yachts and sparkling sea. While Ormeggio (which is Italian for 'berth' or 'moor') is a fine-dining affair, Chiosco (which is Italian for 'kiosk') has adopted a casual approach, serving Italian street food and takeaway with a 'barefoot and BYO' ethos. With cheaper prices and executive chef Alessandro Pavoni at the helm, it's a good excuse to go a little overboard.
Chiosco has been smartly decked out with nautical nuances, including blue-and-white striped cushions, shade sails and slatted timber benches. A deliberate effort has been made to appear casual, but with everything still so new and polished, I wouldn't recommend taking your shoes off just yet.
On the menu, you won't find any entrees or main courses; instead there's a selection of plates designed to share. Choose from deli items such as bresaola and burrata, house-made pastas, or a range of meats and freshly caught seafood cooked on the charcoal grill.
The first thing to hit the table is the pane ($8), a plate of warm sliced organic sourdough from the Ormeggio Bakery, with just a sprinkling of salt and extra virgin olive oil. It's worth the drive alone. For a glimpse of Pavoni's genius, try the burrata ($19), which is a knob of house-made Italian mozzarella filled with fresh cream and tied in a knot. Once you delicately slice it open, the cream runs out and vibrantly mingles with fresh beetroot, basil oil and sourdough crumbs, creating vivid colours and clever textures which will have you questioning how casual this place really is.
Genuine Italian flavours are present in the homemade pastas; an orecchiette ($22) is served with tender, silky mussels, or try the pillowy gnocchi ($22) served with basil pesto and traditional salted ricotta. For the finale, the bombolone ($10) are unmissable. Filled with gooey Nutella centres, these sugar-coated rustic Italian doughnuts are absolutely dreamy.
Bring a bottle of champagne or a six pack of golden ales with you — Chiosco by Ormeggio is that rare treat among accomplished eateries, BYO. Alternatively, if you're out boating for the day, Chiosco can also pack you a hamper, or they offer a takeaway menu of paninis, burgers and fish and chips.