Last Sunday, The Picnic Press hosted our first guests – our dear friends, Kylie and Angelo, and their gorgeous girls, Sienna and Asher (‘Ashie’). Kylie and Ang are from the Northern Beaches so we had the brilliant idea of taking our picnic blanket to them to capture the last bit of Autumn sun by the beach.
Mark and I had run the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon that morning so we were pretty keen to avoid using our legs for the rest of the day. That meant we had to locate food, coffee, and a picnic spot with a view, all in a very tight location. Challenge accepted!
Here’s what we decided to do:
ITINERARY & MAP
Food: Pilu Kiosk
Coffee: Pilu Kiosk
Picnic: Freshwater Reserve, overlooking beautiful Freshwater beach
PILU KIOSKEnd of Moore Road, Freshwater
Pilu restaurant opened in 2005 and has been awarded two Chef’s Hats by Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide every year since for its quality Sicilian cuisine. It’s located in a beautiful heritage-listed weatherboard beach house perched above Freshwater beach, which is between Manly and Curl Curl beaches.
The Pilu Kiosk is a little offshoot of the restaurant located next door to Pilu and specialises in casual dining and takeaway panini, pastries and coffee.
I was lucky enough to first dine at Pilu restaurant for a wedding in 2009. The food was a-ma-zing. In fact, it was so good, I still distinctly remember the main course almost five years later – snapper fillet baked in Italian white wine and encrusted with tart green olives (That’s right, hey Jackie?). Yum!
My dining experience at Pilu was however unfortunately stymied by a wardrobe malfunction that I have chosen to share as a lesson for my girls out there.
I decided on the day of the wedding that the dress I was wearing required a waist belt. I made a dash to the shops and found one to match but the only size available was a size too small. I purchased it anyway, figuring I could channel my inner fashion MacGyver and punch an extra belt hole so that it just fit, alas, not so comfortably.
This was all fine until post-ceremony when they started serving canapés. I am someone who likes trying little bits of everything. It frustrates my family to no end when they find half a biscuit or a bite stolen from their meal when they are not looking. Most of the time, just one bite is all I want and need.
Canapés are therefore my kryptonite. I was practically stalking waiters to sample the delicious morsels. My inability to say no and/or pace myself caused a serious dilemma once we sat down to the three course dinner and I realised I had no other “emergency” belt hole.
‘Why not just take the belt off?’, you say. Well, I come from a “beauty is pain” school of mothering, so this was not an option – I arrived in the belt, I had to leave in the belt. Refusing dinner was not an option either. I had read the menu and it wasn’t going to happen.
So I pushed through.
I made a pact with myself that it would all be okay provided I stopped consuming liquids. As the night wore on, I became really thirsty. I clapped through speeches while imagining the relief of ripping that damn belt off. I danced without breathing. I gritted my teeth and smiled for photos while cursing the belt in my head. I suffered.
When it came time to remove the belt a mere six hours later, my stomach didn’t know what to make of its sudden freedom and it panicked. I was unwell.
I learnt two important lessons that night: 1) Pace yourself, lady and 2) In future, don’t let anything hold you back.
I therefore wore my comfy jeans to our picnic, just in case. I knew ahead of time what I wanted – the famed Pilu Kiosk signature roast suckling pig panini. It was my main motivator while running that morning. Also, this panini had become somewhat of an urban legend for me. I had stopped in several times at Pilu Kiosk previously and each time they were sold out. This time, I was definitely getting one so I made Kylie and Ang meet us for lunch at 11am.
In case you hadn’t heard, the suckling pig panini is made with signature Pilu suckling pig. Yes, that’s right. You are pretty much getting Pilu restaurant specialty, without the restaurant price tag.
The panini is served on lightly toasted Sonoma bread filled with succulent pork with sweet apple, shaved fennel and rocket, and then drizzled with a mustard mayonnaise. The pork is so tender, so I can see why it is legendary. One word of warning, however – don’t expect crackling. If crackling is what you’re after, we’ve got plans to share our hidden gem which sells amazing pork with crackling in a later issue, so you don’t miss out.
We set up our picnic at a beautiful spot in Freshwater Reserve overlooking Freshwater beach with the sun on our backs and tucked in.
Check out The Kiosk website. Note: the suckling pig panino is a big seller so we recommend getting there early to avoid disappointment – if you miss out, don’t worry, there are other delicious sandwich varieties and breakfast options too.
PILU KIOSKEnd of Moore Road, Freshwater – as above
Pilu Kiosk specialises in takeaway Lavazza coffee and for the girls, “chinos” (babycinos). We let our lunch settle and then wandered back for a coffee later in the afternoon.
I don’t take sugar in my coffee but I love a cappuccino because I enjoy that little sweet aftertaste at the end. The best part about Pilu Kiosk’s cappuccino is that they use real chocolate shaving on top. Ashie approves.
FRESHWATER RESERVEEnd of Moore Road, Freshwater and just in front of Pilu – too easy!
Freshwater Reserve isn’t a huge space but it does have the same million dollar views as Pilu restaurant.
What could be better than beach views, sunshine, salt air, suckling pig panini and a coffee/’chino’?!
Sharing it with our friends, that’s what.
That’s the beauty of a picnic. It gives us the perfect chance to catch up with our loved ones, have a laugh and engage in simple pleasures with no distractions.
That’s how we like it!
→ Tables: There are a couple of sheltered picnic tables, but you need to be quick to grab these.
→ Toilets: Public toilets can be found in the neighbouring Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club.
→ Playground: There is a small play area with swings for the kiddies, although Sienna and Ashie had just as much fun picking flowers and enjoying their ‘chinos’.
→ Parking: We managed to get free all day parking on Charles Street, just down the road (outside Harboard Beach Hotel). There is also a car park directly out front, but you may have to pay for parking.
→ BBQ facilities: If you are so inclined, there are BBQ facilities here as well.
→ Beach: In summer, you are perfectly positioned to make a stroll down to the beach so don’t forget to pack your swimmers!
See you next week!
P.S If you love Mark’s photos, check out his other work at Mark Jay Photography and on Facebook.