Salt Meats Cheese, the family-owned restaurant group known for being evangelical about Italian food, has launched its first eatery in the beachside suburb of Cronulla. Salt Meats Cheese Cronulla officially opened its doors this week, providing Sydney’s southern suburbs with an 87-seater restaurant serving pizza, pasta, antipasti, desserts, and cocktails.
SMC sits in the chic new space that is part of Banc, the latest project by Sammut Developments, located on Ocean Grove, just a marinated artichoke’s lob from the sea. The restaurant is a welcome addition to SMC’s growing portfolio of restaurants and cooking classes, which are dotted around NSW and Queensland.
Salt Meats Cheese was established by Italian cousins Edoardo Perlo and Stefano De Blasi in 2012, four years after they moved to Sydney from Northern Italy. Perlo agrees the pair are passionate about opening new restaurants in neighbourhoods that have a strong sense of community. He adds they had identified Cronulla as the ideal backdrop for their next venture as the coastal village was reminiscent of their childhood in Liguria.
“As a group, we tend to steer toward areas that not only have an appetite for good food and drink, but also a place where we know we will feel like we’re part of the family,” says Perlo. “We have wanted to open something in Cronulla since we first started, so when the opportunity came about to take over this beautiful space, we knew it was meant to be. There is a lot about Cronulla which reminds us of home – the families, a tight-knit community, and proximity to the sea”.
Banc-ing on success
The new Salt Meats Cheese site takes pride of place in a corner spot in the former Commonwealth Bank, which was constructed in the 1930s. Perlo collaborated on the interiors with de Blasi and design firm, CLUI Designs.
The exterior of the Art Deco building, which reopened to the public this month, has been painted white and adorned with bespoke lights that draw attention to the geometric line work around the doors and windows. Inside, big basket lights, reminiscent of fishing baskets used in Italy, take centre stage, complemented by rendered white walls and a rustic patchwork of exposed brick.
Aperetivos and antipasti
A sneak peek through the eatery’s oversized windows reveals a large open fire kitchen and a six-seater bar, complete with arched cabinets housing a diverse array of bottles that make up the cocktail, spritz and wine menus. Perlo says he invites partygoers in Cronulla to experience the Italian aperitivo culture at its best with a pre- or post-dinner drink such as the signature Yarra Valley spritz, made with Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz gin, prosecco and soda, or a Riviera spritz, made with ruby red grapefruit aperitif Pampelle, prosecco and soda.
Pizza and pasta
The Salt Meats Cheese pizza and pasta menu will marry locally sourced and imported authentic Italian ingredients with a passion for honest homestyle cooking. The seasonal changing menu will feature signature Salt Meats Cheese dishes such as the tagliolini al granchio, made with blue swimmer crab with zucchini.
Al fresco affair
Guests can also experience Italian classics with a twist with spalla d’Agnello al forno, a slow-cooked lamb shoulder with pumpkin puree, lentils and pomegranate; risotto al funghi, made with Swiss brown mushrooms, truffle, pecorini, parsley and topped with porcini dust and the all-time classic, a Caprese salad.
All fired up
The wood-fired oven will also be doling out signature pizzas such as the amatriciana served with smoked scamorza, amatriciana sauce, pancetta and pecorino Toscano; or the tartufo made with fior di latte, mushrooms, gorgonzola dulce and truffle oil. All Salt Meats Cheese pizzas have the option of being served on a gluten-free base or made with dairy-free gorgonzola for vegan diners. Visit saltmeatscheese.com.au