Osteria Coogee has just opened a stone's throw from the beach and is offering locals of Coogee a delicious Italian wine bar and restaurant experience.
It is the first solo venture from Chef Regan Porteous (from Parlour Group venues including Toko, Riley St Garage, Stanton & Co) and partner and General Manager Carolina Angelucci. Porteous and Angelucci live in the area and have for some time thought that Coogee was in need of the sort of wine bar and restaurant that they had envisioned. Along with head chef Stefano Gagliardi, their vision became reality and Osteria Coogee is now open for business.
Porteous describes the concept behind the new venue as "inspired by the many trips my partner Carolina and I have taken over the years to Italy to visit her family”. He explains the importance of family and enjoying food together, something they have tried to reflect in the sharing menu and experience at Osteria Coogee.
Head Chef Stefano Gagliardi grew up in Italy and has since worked in restaurants in France, London and Spain. He brings tradition and experience to the menu including some special family recipes (such as his tiramisu). There is a nice mix of classic flavours and some modern Australian touches.
We were invited to try some of their dishes in a sample tasting menu before the official opening. Many feature on the special opening month degustation menu and all are available on the menu at the time of writing.
Crostone appetisers ($6 ea) are served with delicate mounds of whipped ricotta and salty bottarga. The sirloin Carpaccio ($16) is tender and flavoursome with tasty parmesan and gentle baby rocket. Another entree special is the Peperone stuffed bullhorn pepper with gremolata ($14) which is served with a novel garnish of gremolata-infused pasta sheet, where the chefs have injected the flavours of traditional Italian condiment gremolata into a sheet of handmade pasta. With this and the carpaccio you can adjust the taste to your palate with table salt and pepper.
Osteria Coogee's porcini and truffle Gnocchi ($26) is a decadent dish that fits wonderfully into a shared menu, oozing with creamy cheesey flavour and a generous oomph of truffle. Trying to resist licking the bowl clean when you're done will probably be difficult!
The highlight of our tasting menu had to be the special Porchetta. On Sundays diners can enjoy a family roast with an Italian twist and share Chef Gagliardi's divine Italian pork roast which he makes fresh every Sunday, stuffed with garlic, herbs and salt. It is utterly delicious and not to be missed.
An old family recipe is used in the Tiramisu ($9) which is flavoured with amaretto biscuits among the usual suspects. Other dessert options on the menu include Pannacotta and a selection of cheeses.
There are several wines by the glass, mostly Australian and Italian, and a handful of Italian inspired cocktails.
In true Italian style they have an aperitivo hour with complimentary nibbles. From 5-7pm Wednesday to Sunday enjoy a $10 Aperol Spritz, Americano or Italicus cocktail, perhaps on the breezy balcony that overlooks Coogee Oval.