Love is in the air. Carla Grossetti plays Cupid, recommending 6 of the Best Places to Wine and Dine your Date on Valentine’s Day in The Shire.
A table at Bianco Nero represents valuable real estate. If your sweetheart claims to reject the hype surrounding the Hallmark holiday, we recommend you play it safe with a low-key brekkie date. Be prepared to share the grazing plate of spiced avocado, roma tomatoes, fetta, dukkah, snow pea tangles and sourdough or goat’s cheese tart while supping seductively on a virgin colada. Although breakfast and brunch operates on a first-come-first-served basis, the eatery is also open on Friday nights. Find a nook that is conducive to playing footsies and treat your date to tapas for two, which includes lovely light options such as grilled squid salad as well as big butch Black Angus cheeseburgers.
1/44 Gymea Bay Road, Gymea, 9531 4443, bianconero.com.au
Italian Stallion Bar & Grill
The Italian Stallion Bar & Grill will be confecting a special pink-themed menu that is as tongue and cheek as it is sybaritic on Valentine’s Day. Expect the menu to be as free and wild as the uncastrated adult male horse it is named after. Pucker up for aphrodisiac insalate, pot-roasted veal rump, with rosemary, garlic and pink peppercorns with fregola and finish with a strawberry, fig, raspberry pomegranate bomb. You can also break the ice over cocktails such as the Old Spice, which reportedly improves your #mansmell or embrace your inadequacies by ordering The Little Prick.
11 Gymea Bay Road, Gymea, 9542 8008, italianstallionbarandgrill
Queen Margherita of Savoy
When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie, that’s amore! Queen Margherita of Savoy presents its Walk Through Naples, which takes tables for two on a leisurely stroll through entrée, main and dessert ($70 per couple). The idea is to graze on antipasti and frittura (fried morsels), pizza or pasta before popping the proverbial cork over QMOS’s signature hot fudge sundae with beer nut brittle or Nutella Calzone. As one of only a dozen or so Sydney pizzerias approved by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, QMOS deserves some love.
Shop 9, 2-8 Surf Rd, Cronulla, 9527 4992, qmos.com.au
This new restaurant opened by the Publica Group (Clubhouse Rosebery) has been making locals giddy since opening its doors in December. If ever there was a dish to get you in the mood, it would have to be the whipped goat’s curd, truffled honey and house lavosh at henrys. The zucchini flowers, Binnorie feta, citrus and pecorino also fit the Food of Love brief. Exhibitionists can put their PDAs on display at an al fresco table under the twinkling lights outside, while the more discreet can hide away inside as the chef lays on the charm with share plates of crispy flathead tacos, jerk baby chicken, celeriac and charred garlic shoots.
1 Ocean Grove Avenue, Cronulla, 9527 0305, henryscronulla.com.au
Love the Shire? So do Daniel Sorridimi and Robert Lechowicz. Lechowicz worked at Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe before returning to the Shire, joining forces with friends Sorridimi and Paul Pisani to give their old stomping ground some love. Together, the trio named the eatery after Blackwood’s Beach, which was – up until now – somewhat of a secret spot in Cronulla. Word on the street is the healthful food is melting the hearts of locals. Avoid feeling like a boombah and order the Buddha Bowl of fried eggs, quinoa, kale, roasted cauliflower, lemon and buttermilk dressing or get it on with some Morning Glory.
Shop 5/33 Surf Lane, Cronulla, 9544 4857, blackwoodpantry.com.au
Low & Lofty’s
Does your Prince Charming fancy himself as a bit of a pinball wizard? For a date with a difference, challenge your other half to beat the high score bearing your name in this Caribbean themed bar and barbecue joint. After impressing said suitor with your pinball-machine-playing prowess, share a special Valentine’s Day tasting plate for two with two glasses of bubbly or tap beer for $60. If you’re still thirsty, ask barkeep Alex Clarke (ex Lobo Plantation and Eau de Vie) for a salted caramel espresso martini. #whipitgood
51A Cronulla St, Cronulla, 8544 3327 lowandloftys.com
Do you have a favourite place to dine and date in the Shire? Don’t forget to use the #lovetheshire for inspo. All ideas welcome [email protected] To read more of Carla’s articles, visit carlagrossetti.com