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Reader dinner: Pilu at Freshwater, Sydney

Rangers Valley flank steak with caponata

Rangers Valley flank steak with caponata

Over the past 12 years Pilu at Freshwater has produced consistently great Sardinian fare and more than a few talented chefs. It's a restaurant that celebrates tradition yet its alumni include the boundary-pushing likes of Matteo Zamboni of Zambo and Acme's Mitch Orr. It also has sweeping beach views and a cellar crammed with wonders, making it the perfect place to spend a balmy evening, glass of vermentino in hand.

Giovanni Pilu.

We'll be doing just that at this month's reader dinner when owner-chef Giovanni Pilu and head chef Jason Saxby present a four-course menu with matched wines, exploring Sardinia in new ways and old, wrought from local produce. "Our philosophy is produce-driven," says Pilu. "I'm a big fan of cooking and eating what is growing at the time, like I did back home in Sardinia."

Mirto-cured kingfish with sheep's milk yoghurt, beetroot and juniper.

First up is kingfish cured in mirto, a Sardinian myrtle-berry liqueur, followed by culurzones, a Sardinian staple. These wheat-shaped ravioli are traditionally stuffed with potato, but Pilu has chosen a more summery filling of salt cod, tomato and basil for the night. Rangers Valley flank follows - "the best beef in the world", Pilu says - charred and served with caponata, salty fried capers and pine nuts. And the Arabic-influenced flavours of southern Sardinia round things out in meringue with caramelised fig and saffron.

"It'll be relaxed, it'll be loud and everyone will be having a good time," says Pilu. Count us in. 

Join us for dinner at 6.30pm on Monday 30 January at Pilu at Freshwater, end of Moore Rd, Freshwater, NSW. The cost of $140 includes four courses and a $10 donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. To book, call (02) 9938 3331. For more on the OCRF, call 1300 OVARIAN or visit ocrf.com.au.

Pilu at Freshwater reader dinner menu 

* Mirto-cured kingfish with sheep's milk yoghurt, beetroot and juniper
2011 Vigne Surrau "Millesimato" Vermentino, Sardinia

* Baccalà-filled culurzones with tomato and basil
2014 Vigne Surrau "Sciala" Vermentino di Gallura Superior, Sardinia

* Rangers Valley flank steak with caponata
2012 Vigne Surrau "Barriu" Isola dei Nuraghi IGT, Sardinia

* Meringata of caramelised fig, balsamic, corbezzolo honey and saffron
2013 Vigne Surrau "Sole di Surrau" Passito di Vermentino, Sardinia

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