Mystery Diner Review: Chiosco by Ormeggio
THIS WEEK WE INTRODUCE MOSMAN COLLECTIVE'S MYSTERY DINER .. A PASSIONATE LOCAL FOODIE, WITH AN AMBITIOUS PLAN TO BRING YOU HONEST AND COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS OF OUR LOCAL RESTAURANTS, CAFES, BARS AND PUBS.
It’s 2pm on a magnificent Saturday afternoon and the vibe at Chiosco by Ormeggio is upbeat and relaxed. Inside the small space is a mix of well dressed young families with their little ones, older couples - and much larger groups, like a Bridal Shower that's seated close to our table for two.
Maybe it’s the sunny Spring vibe combined with the setting, but immediately you feel at home, when the wait staff happily welcome you to their bright and inviting all-weather dining space, stylishly fitted out in navy and white. Sitting out amongst the swanky boats, feeling the afternoon sea breeze, is about as Sydney as you can get!
Chiosco by Ormeggio is located at the Spit, on D’Albora Marina. As the name suggests, the eatery is “little sister” to the famed Ormeggio; one of Australia’s best restaurants that has recently been awarded two hats in the SMH 2018 Good Food Guide.
But don’t let the little sister tag fool you. Chiosco offers beautiful Italian cuisine in the style of a traditional trattoria, overlooking stunning Middle Harbour.
Today is something of a celebration for my dining companion, and upon hearing the news, our server was quick to offer us two glasses of Italian sparkling. A thoughtful and much appreciated touch.
The a la carte menu offers a wonderful selection of classics - and although short, the wine list at Chiosco is moderately priced and heavy with Italian options. We rarely order a degustation style meal, but the Chef’s Sharing Feast ($65.50 per person) drew us in completely.
From the moment Chiosco's house baked organic sourdough hit the table, the mood was set. Thick, warm, crusty slices, accompanied by a fruity olive oil always put a smile on my face. Can bread and olive oil be a meal highlight? Perhaps if (like me), you try to avoid carbs during the week!
We enjoyed the elegant simplicity of a lovingly prepared bruschetta caprese – featuring creamy burrata cheese and perfectly ripened oxheart tomatoes, topped with the salty/sweet hit of white Italian anchovies. Delicious!
Next up, a truly delightful looking vitello tonnato hit the table - and it didn't disappoint, with the delicate veal lifted by an amazing tuna mayonnaise and studded with blooms of fried caper. Yum!
The wagyu shank ragout (slow cooked for 5 hours) and wrapped in silky gnocchi followed; a rich and luscious combination packing an enormous flavour punch. Perfect with our glass of Chianti Classico.
With news of a Christmas prawn shortage forcing prices up to $50/kilo over the festive season, we wondered if the Chef special of Gamberoni (split, grilled king prawns with a chilli lemon dressing) would still be on offer - and thank goodness it was! For both of us, this was an absolute winner and a great example of what Chiosco does best.
The modern Mediterranean menu lends itself to a leisurely lunch and thankfully, we are in no hurry! The spectacular view, glorious sunshine, my beautiful lady and a stand out chianti make this dining experience one to remember.
After a short break between dishes, I'm eager to try the next offering. My partner tends to steer away from small birds (it’s a long story!) so I am confident of scoring a double serve of the charcoal spatchcock with peperonata, but alas!
Let me say in all honesty that when this course of the degustation arrived, any existing small bird issues went straight out the window! The spatchcock was perfect for us both (not too pink) and the combination of the smoked paprika and reduced, sweet capsicum hit the spot. The addition of char grilled corn on the cob, dusted with paprika and pecorino, only added to the dish.
By the time dessert arrived, we were pleasantly satisfied, but not overly full from the procession of small plates. So there was just enough room to sample Chiosco's cultish cannolo and Nutella bombolone! Did I run my finger across the serving plate to make sure I got the last of the Nutella? – yep! It was a wonderful finale to a magical Mosman meal.
Chiosco by Ormeggio is a great local restaurant, with a reasonably priced menu offering well executed Italian cuisine - made even better as its BYO wine ($12 corkage).
Will we go back? Absolutely!
*This meal was independently paid for.