Pilu Kiosk, Freshwater

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.

The kiosk across from the car park

The kiosk across from the car park with Pilu restaurant behind it.

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.

It looks good from the car park

It looks good from the car park

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.

The lunch menu

The lunch menu

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.

My GF suckling pig sandwich

My GF suckling pig sandwich

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.

Seana's tuna and roasted vegetable salad

Seana’s tuna and roasted vegetable salad

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.

This is suckling pig on a sandwich with some rocket and very little else

This is suckling pig on a sandwich with some rocket and very little else

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.

There's no butter on the bread and the filling isn't evenly distributed

There’s no butter on the bread and the filling isn’t evenly distributed

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.

Pilu Kiosk

“On the beach”, Moore Road, Freshwater NSW 2096
Telephone: (02) 9938 3331

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  1. How unfortunate. It is odd that a famous chef would allow his name to be on such a mediocre place. At least you had good company and weather. 🙂

  2. That does NOT look like suckling pig to me! I’d go with tuna or chicken. Ugh.

  3. Ahh. There is something very wrong if my darling husband (who has no cooking skills whatsoever) can make incredible, tasty sandwiches, and these guys who appear to be associated with a ‘celebrity chef’ and are selling their ‘food’ to the public cannot . What on earth were they thinking? My vote is that it was chicken, although you need to work pretty hard to make both suckling pork and chicken flavourless. That poor animal.

  4. You’re having a pretty poor run of it aren’t you? Nothing worse than paying for a disappointing meal when the establishment comes with such high expectations. Meh.

  5. with 40% off the menu because they had to change the oil – couldn’t that have been done in off hours? Surely they aren’t open 24/7. odd.

    You have found some doozies lately, Charlie. I’ve been following Seana’s blog lately too. She seems lovely.

  6. I hate nasty staff. After having worked in hospitality and having children who have worked in hospitality there s NO excuse for it. Even if your lunch was rubbish a friendly face would have made all the difference. Then you would have felt you could have ordered something else. Poor you. how sad. SO, how was the surf club then? More fun over there i bet!! c

  7. Sounds underwhelming at every level. It is always such a shame when a dining experience is a let-down, isn’t it? We choose to spend our time and money in a restaurant…and then when it is a disappointment in terms of food and staff attitude/service as well, there is no excuse.

  8. I actually thought the picture of the toasted GF sandwiches didn’t look bad at all. The inside on the other hand … I could make a nicer sandwich when I was a teen with one hand while talking on the phone. Certainly NOT worth the money they had the nerve to charge. And not having washroom facilities on the premises is outrageous.

  9. I walked into a bakery in a small Minnesota town a few days ago, knowing it was known for its Dutch pastries. I asked the young woman behind the counter if she had any “ethnic” pastries.

    Her response: “We’re a Dutch bakery.”

    “Yes,” my husband said, “ethnic as in Dutch.”

    She had no clue as to the definition of “ethnic.”

    Then, quite rudely, she said, “Well, it is 2:00” (meaning late to be coming to a bakery).

    We walked out without purchasing anything. Rudeness like this does not deserve one’s time or money.

    • “Well, it is 2:00″

      Did she think you were asking her to bake something ‘ethnic’ from scratch?

      I would have have rephrased your husband’s question, though, since it sounds like she didn’t know what you were asking. Maybe ask what pastries they had which were Dutch specialties? Unfortunately it sounds like she was so hostile and rude that I can understand why you left. I hope you picked up some baked goods elsewhere. 🙂

    • Honestly, I doubt she was meaning to be rude, but she was likely confused by your poor choice of words. Yes, ethnic is an innocent word as you meant it, but many people in the USA consider ‘ethnic’ to be ‘not of them’.

  10. What terrible service and attitude indeed Charlie! Your sandwich looks awful, and for that ridiculous price it should have at least had a side salad.
    What makes me really cranky though is the idea that taking the filling from a regular sandwich and then placing it in some gluten free bread would make it gluten free- what about cross contamination? I know so many people who would be terribly ill from that. The lack of toilet facilities wouldn’t matter if I ate there and reacted to the lazy hygiene regarding allergies, because I would berm down the connecting door to the restaurant in my rush, as three is no way I would hate time to get across the road and down the beach to the alternative! And serve them right!

  11. Sorry you had such a bad experience…enjoy the rest of the week Charlie 😀

  12. Oh dear what a disappointment Charlie! It sounds like they need to work on service urgently 🙁

  13. One word: shocked. Didn’t think that would be worthy of selling.

  14. I hate bad food and even worse, bad service and rude staff. What a shame the name sounded promising and as you say why would you lend your name to something so terrible. The lack of toilets is unbelievable! this place is definately not on my list!

  15. There’s nothing worse than being left down for lunch. I spend most of my mornings planing what I’ll eat for lunch that day!

  16. Oh you poor thing that’s a shame!!….greasy salt containers….yuck! I shivered when you said that. I hope the other meals you had that day more than made up for those two ‘things’ they put in front of you.

  17. Ugh, it sounds like an awful spot. But it made for an entertaining post 🙂

  18. G’day Charlie!
    I now know where NOT to have lunch when I first get to meet you!
    At least we can all chuckle through your unique view and at least you got a chance to catch up with Seana too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  19. Looks delicious! I’ve always wanted to meet a blogger friend– I can’t wait until Lorraine comes to Texas!

  20. Easy-peasy! So many NSW bloggers read your posts, Charlie . . . if each of us post to just ten of ours who pass on to ten of theirs. . .Am sorry for the guy ’cause methinks I know someone who worked satisfactorily with him . . . . this simply is not ‘our’ food scene . . .

  21. Oh Charlie seriously how is it that you end up with the bad meal every time. That ‘pig’ looked awful and more like colourless tuna then actual pig. Won’t put this place on the list!

  22. Can’t say I blame you for being disappointed. That sandwich is utterly underwhelming – and the price is outrageous!

  23. Lovely pictures and I drool over

  24. At least the conversation was good! Next time lets have a picnic on the beach!

  25. Sounds horrible. I wonder if they will see your post, and get their act together?

  26. What a disappointment! I liked the sound of the barley salad and the roast vegetable salad on the board, but even if they’d been offered, a place with poor service (and no toilets!) would never get high marks from me. I’m not very familiar with meats, but your sandwich filling also looks far more like tuna or chicken than anything else to me…

  27. Oh no, that’s terrible. When I read ‘suckling pig sandwich’ I was so excited for you! Well, at least you had amazing company

  28. Yuck, that sandwich looked awful! Clearly, that Chef isn’t keeping track of what his name is promoting. It’s so disappointing to look forward to trying a new restaurant only to have it be awful… and having the staff be rude to you makes it even worse!

    Well, hopefully the next lunch out will be much, much, better. 🙂

  29. Charlie, the only positive I could detect out of this lunchtime fiasco was that you got to visit with a blogging friend. Thank heavens for that.

  30. I assume you weren’t being treated so poorly and rudely by the owners of the kiosk! What terrible customer service, and oh boy, your sandwich really did look unappetizing. But I am glad you had such pleasant company with which to share an unappetizing meal. It will continue to be a story you and Seana can share. 🙂

  31. Wow, what a disaster… and to agree with the others, there’s no way that’s suckling pig (well, I never had suckling pig, but it sure looks like tuna, mushed up with mayonnaise!).

    As for your lunch partner’s salad… I’m sure it might have been good, but come on – $16 for a few rocket leaves thrown together with some roasted veg and tuna? Rip-off much?

  32. Such a pity to hear about this one of a kind experience.
    The sandwhich looks dreadful, prepared just because they had to do it, not because they enjoyed doing it.
    But at least you had great company, it’s always nice to meet fellow bloggers and to exchange ideas.
    Have a great weekend 🙂

  33. Yuck

  34. What a shame! I wonder if the owners know their staff is that rude. I would have got a tad narky about being treated like that. And it wasn’t cheap.

  35. What a horrible experience and $18.50 is ridiculously expensive for a crappy sandwich and soft drink. The meat doesn’t even look like suckling pig either… 🙁

  36. Inexcusable; I’m surprised they are still in business! That much money for a sandwich that looks like that is disgusting. But at least you had a nice visit with Seana. I like her suggestion to have a picnic on the beach instead, way better food for sure!

  37. What a shame. I had dinner in the restaurant last month and it was very nice. Sounds like the kiosk needs an overhaul.

  38. I enjoyed reading this only because I could imagine you dealing with these rude and unprofessional people in your humorous charming way . I think you were definitely fleeced of your $18 there Charlie. That kiosk is BANNED!

  39. Thank you for this review. I was going to pay them a visit today because there had been so much raves on this suckling pig. You saved me a trip, disappointment and money xxx Grace

  40. Yeah that suckling pig doesn’t seem as fine. Either way if you’re looking to go some Freshwater and Manly are lovely!

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