A few weeks ago Seana from Sydney, Kids, Food and Travel Blog asked me if I’d like to get together for lunch. We’ve been commenting on each others blogs for a while and have had lunch on one previous occasion and even bumped into each other on a separate occasion outside a cafe.
As the weather is currently extremely mild we thought it might be nice to make the most of being able to sit outside and so we decided to meet at Pilu Kiosk.
Pilu Kiosk is just off the car park at Freshwater Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It is pretty much attached to the very well known Pilu Restaurant, owned and run by celebrity chef, Giovanni Pilu from Sardinia. There has been a lot of fuss surrounding Giovanni Pilu’s abilities as a chef and from what I’ve heard and read it is all fully warranted so I’m quite unsure as to why he would want his name associated with this kiosk.
From the car park it’s a lovely looking kiosk and stepping inside there’s a small courtyard with less than a dozen tiny tables. There are no menus but there are two small blackboards on the walls of the building advertising what is available. One lists what is available for breakfast and the other, the lunch items.
Seana and I chatted at a table for a while and then thought we’d better order. It was at that point that I thought I’d like to go to the bathroom so looked around and couldn’t find any sign pointing me in the direction of the facilities. That’s because there aren’t any. The woman inside the kitchen told me the nearest amenities are in the surf club which is across the car park and down the sand dunes. I believe all cafes and restaurants are required by law to provide amenities and I guess that is why this place is called a Kiosk. What I don’t understand is why patrons of the kiosk can’t enter the restaurant to share the facilities. I left Seana minding our table while I navigated my way cross-country to the surf club.
Many minutes later I was back and we went to the counter to order. Seana wanted to order the barley salad. ‘We’ve sold out’, said the unfriendly male behind the counter. ‘Oh, okay’, said Seana, ‘I’ll have tuna salad with roasted vegetables’.
I then ordered the hot chips. He said, ‘We don’t have any’.
‘You don’t have any hot chips?’
‘We’re not doing hot chips or fish and chips or chips and salad’. (Well that wipes out pretty much 40% of the menu). ‘We’re not doing any deep-frying. We’re cleaning the deep-fryer today’. One wonders why they didn’t use a rag to remove the no-longer-available items from the blackboard and perhaps an apology from the kitchen-hand would have been nice.
‘Oh, okay, well what are the gluten-free options?’ (Because the blackboard states there are GF options).
‘Roasted vegetable salad. Or a sandwich. We can take the filling out of one of these…’ and he indicated the shelf of pre-made sandwiches on display, ‘and put it in between two slices of gluten-free bread’. He didn’t over-sell the idea and I was under-whelmed.
‘Okay, well I’ll have the suckling pig sandwich then’. I ordered it with a soft drink and it was $18.50.
About 10 minutes later the guy in the kitchen brought us two salads. ‘We didn’t order those salads’, I said. After sorting the confusion he realised these were meant for a table at the front of the kiosk.
When the sandwich arrived (it was actually two sandwiches because GF bread is very small), I wasn’t excited. It had been lightly toasted but it looked very dull and ordinary on the plate. I lifted up the bread and care hadn’t been taken to place the filling evenly around the slices of bread. It also didn’t look like suckling pig. I thought it was chicken and Seana thought it was tuna. I took it back to the kitchen and questioned whether it was suckling pig and the man very dismissively said that it was. Back to my table I went.
Seana said her tuna salad with the roasted vegetables was lovely if a little oily.
But as for my sandwich! It was unattractive on the plate. It had no flavour and was completely bland. The bread hadn’t even been buttered. Is that out of vogue? Do restaurants/cafes/kiosks not butter bread anymore? Some moisture would have been nice.
After the first sandwich I went back up to the kitchen (hesitating because I’d found the staff to be unapproachable and entirely hostile) and asked if they had any salt or pepper. The woman pointed with her finger to a shelf where salt and pepper shakers (not grinders) were sitting on a shelf. I helped myself to these greasy stainless steel containers and tried to shake the contents over my remaining sandwich. Unfortunately the sandwich was so devoid of flavour that not even a sprinkling of salt and pepper could rescue it.
Seana and I both left thinking it was unlikely we would ever visit the kiosk again.
Verdict: Thank goodness this wasn’t my only meal of the day.
“On the beach”, Moore Road, Freshwater NSW 2096
Telephone: (02) 9938 3331
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