Local food and travel writer Carla Grossetti gets the keys to the vault -- exploring local eateries based in the new Banc building and previewing a few old faves that have joined the local dining revolution. Here are five restaurants you need to try in Cronulla.
1. C.C. Babcoq
Cronulla Mall has been made a little bit fancy thanks to the arrival of Banc and shiny new premises such as C.C. Babcoq. The restaurant is brought to you by the local legends from HAM (Harry and Mario Kapoulas) and Jake Chalmers (Anthony Gentile) and named in honour of the secretary of Mr Sheffield in the US TV sitcom, The Nanny. Here, Josh Davidson (ex-Apollo) is at the helm, cooking the chooks to crisp perfection at the user-friendly corner eatery. The menu at C.C. Babcoq is not complicated: it's fancy chicken basted just so with different flavour combinations and served with peak-season produce. The rotisserie chickens are served quartered or whole, which pleases those who want to gnaw at their dinner. Order 'chook and chips' a wildly comforting combination of a soft white roll stuffed with crazy-tender chook and crinkle-cut chips, chicken salt and gravy or the ras el hanout chicken with potato salad on the side. Shop 5, 66-70 Cronulla St.
It's Crust, but not as you know it. Step inside Crust in Cronulla on a Saturday night and you will find it buzzing with everyone from moustachioed men who've spent the day clad in neoprene; to real estate agents discussing the state of the market; families recounting the menu to their young children; and fresh-faced couples happy they swiped right on Tinder. Pizza is many things to many people and what Crust is renowned for is its crisp exterior crust, its toppings of seasonal vegetables. What it's not known for is being a dining-in restaurant and that's precisely what this new offshoot from the franchise is all about. Cue a roaring aria sung by Pavarotti as you tuck into arancini, smoked buffalo mozzarella pizza, veal cutlets, fresh pasta and pumpkin and ricotta gnocchi. This new Crust in Cronulla is the pilot dine-in restaurant for the pizza franchise and popular with fitness freaks who love the paleo, low-cal and vegan-friendly options. Shop 3, 66-70 Cronulla St.
3. Salt Meats Cheese
The celebration of Italian culture continues at Salt Meats Cheese, which has colonised a corner of the new sexy Banc building. It's 11 o'clock in the morning, the sun is high in the sky and several customers are already ordering lunch from the homestyle menu here. The rustic space -- all elaborate pendant lighting, exposed brickwork and fernery spilling out of planter boxes -- has a real 'look at me' vibe as it boasts one of the most prized locations in Cronulla Plaza. The local surfie crowd rubs elbows with tables of ladies who lunch and millennials who like to start and finish the day with espresso. The centrepiece here is the wood-fired oven where pizza margherita comes out the colour of a Cronulla sunrise dotted with clouds of fior di latte. Usher in the weekend in the al fresco table near the cut-away window to enjoy truffle fries and rounds of Aperol spritzes. Calorie counters will appreciate salads flecked with roasted chicken and house-smoked rainbow trout. Hard-core carnivores should plump for the Quattro Carni signature pizza. 66-70 Cronulla St, Cronulla.
4. Parea Casual Greek
A 'parea' in Greek culture is a group of friends who regularly gather to share their experiences about life, their philosophies, values and ideas. Cronulla is a long way from the Mediterranean. But the white-sand beaches here are, similarly, popular places to sit and let time fold in on itself. Parea Casual Greek is the little sister to the popular neighbourhood tavern located on Rocky Point Rd, Kogarah, so Shire locals are stoked to find an outpost that is closer to home. Forget clambering vines with plastic grapes and whitewashed walls. This is casual, contemporary eatery with a versatile menu. Order a proper Greek salad, bustling with feta, olives, cucumber and flecked with oregano or the meaty moussaka and pork souvlaki – all of it arriving under a snowfall of vibrant parsley. Do as they do in Santorini and mop your plate clean with warm triangles of pita. Shop 3, 19-21 Gerrale St, Cronulla.
5. Albi's Tavern
Albi Cuni is well-known in the local Cronulla community. The chef, who worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy and, for a brief time, under Peter Gilmore at Sydney's three-hatted restaurant, Quay, opened Albi's Table in 2015. The restaurant was so popular that the young chef had to move to larger premises, opening Albi's Taverna in 2017. His formula for success is simple -- serve rich, rustic northern Italian food and send out squadrons of charming Italian waiters to swarm around the tables. Cuni's attention is now focused solely on the taverna, where he energetically advises diners to start with his garlic bread schiachiata -- homemade focaccia, spicy salami, whipped garlic butter, garlic mayonnaise and provolone cheese. His second signature dish is the scallops marinated in salmoriglio then pan-fried and served in a cold tomato gazpacho with buffalo mozzarella, pork crackling and dehydrated stock. Shop 1-2/1 Ocean Grove Avenue, Cronulla.
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522 Kingsway (Corner of Jackson Avenue), Miranda
T: 1800 004 321
Gerrale Street, Cronulla
Old Princes Highway, Engadine
20-38 Gerrale Street, Cronulla
T: 02 9710 0333
20 - 26 The Kingsway, Cronulla
T: 02 9527 3100
1 Kingsway, Cronulla
T: 02 8536 3600
1229-1233 Princes Highway, Engadine
T: 02 9520 8166
2 Seabreeze Lane, Bundeena
T: 0419 254 981
104 President Avenue, Caringbah
T: 02 9710 0333
Cnr Rawson Avenue & Pitt Street, Loftus
T: 02 9542 3646