On the Pass : Giovanni Pilu, Pilu at Freshwater

Author: Samantha Teague
Photography: Will Horner

A Q&A with Giovanni Pilu, of Sardinian restaurant Pilu at Freshwater, about recent additions to the restaurant and how he survives a winter in Sydney.

Pilu at Freshwater has been open for 13 years. What's the key to running a successful kitchen, Giovanni?

You need to look after your staff. I'm a firm believer in sitting down as a family to have two staff meals a day. It's only Marilyn [Annecchini, Pilu's wife and business partner] and I, so we're only as good as our staff.

What's your go-to winter ingredient?

There's only a very short time when you can use blood oranges at their peak, but during that time we use them for anything and everything, from cocktails to dessert. One of the dishes I love is a dessert we've had on the menu since the restaurant opened, called seadas. It's a Sardinian pastry filled with ricotta and sultanas, and it's topped with honey and a blood orange disc.

You recently opened a wine bar in the kiosk next door. What's it all about?

We opened the baretto next door at the end of summer. At the moment it's only open nights, Friday to Sunday, but when spring kicks in we'll probably do seven nights. The dishes are well executed and all under $20: kingfish, burrata, mussels and homemade pasta, too, with simple sauces like Amatriciana with guanciale.

What's your ideal winter escape?

We can't get enough of Noosa - it has everything you need. You can walk or cycle everywhere, there's great coffee, and amazing restaurants like Wasabi and Thomas Corner Eatery.

Pilu at Freshwater, end of Moore Rd, Freshwater, NSW, (02) 9938 3331, pilu.com.au

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