An affordable seafood restaurant that does BYO and has water views – no, it's not a myth
Here at Time Out, the most common request we get is for a seafood restaurant that won’t break the bank, allows you to bring your own wine and has water views. You can check off two of those four requirements with little difficulty, but all four was asking too much… until now. Turns out Ormeggio at the Spit’s casual offshoot is Sydney's dining unicorn.
Head into the d’Albora Marina, past the display model speed boats worth $50,000 a pop and out towards the water. On your right is the refined, Italian fine diner with Alessandro Pavoni at the helm and well-tailored maître Ds at the door, and to your left is a little 50-seat, open-air restaurant staffed by smiling young wait staff in white tees and striped aprons.
It’s a simple setup. Two marquees on the jetty strung with blue and yellow bunting keep diners dry, the kitchen is tucked back into the marina building and gleaming cruiser yachts bump gently in the moorings next to you. Waterfront? Check.
Yes, yes, there’s traffic, and restrictive liquor licensing and jerks being punchy, but how can you not love our city when you’re downing creamy Sydney rock oysters as the sun sets down into the valleys of the North Shore? Back them up with sweet firm ribbons of swordfish punked up with bitter pink grapefruit, tendrils of fennel and spicy slices of wafer-thin radish. It’s the fish crudo of the day on our visit.
You could stay a while in the deli section of the menu and order up creamy rounds of fresh burrata, but a little wooden box filled with four battered zucchini flower parcels stuffed with goat’s cheese is a very good argument to flirt with the fried list. They somehow manage to be crisp, fresh, and creamy all at once.
If your evening involves nothing more than a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine from your own cellar/the nearest bottle-o, you'll still be living the high life. They only charge $12 corkage per bottle of wine. BYO? You got it. There are three pastas on the menu and if you are pro-sauce you should order the puttanesca. Al dente spirals so tight they coil into little ropes are liberally doused in a rich tomato sauce that is as briny as the big blue with anchovies, black olives and parmesan.
And now it’s time for tasty things on sticks. We opt for pairs of whole baby octopus dressed in a bracingly fresh salsa verde and so gently grilled that only the tips of their tentacles are crisp. There are also skewers of lamb if you prefer grazers to swimmers. A set of split king prawns with a zesty chilli lemon dressing arrive sweet and tender, but we would have loved a little more char on the shells for that big prawn flavour.
We don’t care if you’re fully satisfied at this point – you will regret not ordering the set of three sugar-dusted doughnut balls filled with hot Nutella. These two-bite sweet treats put jam doughnuts to shame.
They said it couldn’t be done, but Chiosco proved them all wrong. It’s a casual, delicious Italian restaurant that does BYO by the water. It’ll work for date night, meeting the parents, and overdue catch-ups and it won’t require all your worldly goods to pay for it. Consider the myth busted.
|Venue name:||Chiosco by Ormeggio|
The Jetty, d'Albora Marinas, the Spit
|Opening hours:||Daily 8am-late|