Zimzala, Cronulla Beach - Sydney NSW

South Cronulla Beach south of Sydney CBD - and this was taken in July's southern winter.

Zimzala sits right on the beach.  Enough said. The beach is iconic in the greater Sydney area.  A bonus.  In front of the restaurant are paved walkways, the captivating bay and a hum of activity on most days.  Diners have a choice of so called outdoor seating where you get the sea breeze or you may want eating inside a proper room.  The menu utilises the best of local produce, is mindful of beach culture but also both elegance and style to its creations.  You may have to sit up close to other guests but you don't really care.  A place for wedding catering, that special twosome or just a group of your best mates. 

The wine list is compact but focused, mainly with an eye for the primary seafood and meat items dished up.   There is spread across Australia from the Hunter Valley to Margaret River, including Victorian and SA vine yards, but there is also the ever appreciated brews from Marlborough across the Tasman.  Interesting is the sole dessert wine, Mclaren Vale's Dowie Doole Canecut Viognier.

Grilled eye fillet of beef.

A beaut day for winter, with sky blue ocean and welcoming  temperatures.  The place was packed up but we were shown a strategically placed table where we could view the goings on in food and crowd.  We decided on a lunch combo, with choices from the menu, how generous!  For starters, the gnocchi and pork belly crackle stood out in nuance, favour and presentation.

Regarding the mains we selected, I found my duck confit with baby endives and lardons of spec a bit dry but the grilled eye fillet of beef for my mate was good. The integrity of the duck based dish was saved in part by the silky carrot puree and the orange and cranberry marmalade.  The beef was graced by pommes lyonnaise, green beans and peppered jus and sauce Bearnaise.

Friendly staff, fast service and a good refuge at the seaside.  We thought they offered a bargain combo lunch deal!  Also look out for mid-week specials if you can make it there accordingly.

What caught my eye initially was the risotto mains served with lobster and Balmain bugs, a great test of flavours from the ocean and the intimacy of the rice.  This dish was accompanied by the usual garnishing of Parmesan cheese and garden peas.   The other dish that also jumped out of the menu for me to please try was the seafood pie with chips,  perhaps very blokey or rather very seaside!  Next time, baby!

Gnocchi with dolce gorgonzola, pancetta, radicchio, pangratatto and spinach.

Staff we met were quick on their feet and responsive even during a busy hour.  The freshness of ingredients is complimented by the high level of care paid to its preparation, in most cases.  Sauces play a big part in the outcome of the served dish.  Colour, refinement and texture stand out positively, especially with the arrival of Executive Chef Tod Laurence.  And the other consistent X factor - imaginative presentation and care when your order is served in front of you.

The gnocchi my mate had was served with radicchio, pancetta, spinach, pangratatto bread crumbs and mild dolce gorgonzola.  Radicchio is the pretty looking Italian chicory, with the white veins in the otherwise purple coloured leaves making them even more captivating.  The dolce gorgonzola is made form unskimmed cow's milk and is not overly rich though when mild and sprinkled sparingly.

Caramelised apple, walnuts, cress and parsnip puree further lift up a tasty pork belly crackle.

The pork belly served was not over oily and the crackle firm and crispy.  The accompanying parsnip puree lifted the dish further, together with the delicate walnuts and cress with the caramelised apple.  This is an entree that gave detailed sensations to the palate!

I would love to return to Zimzala for breakfast, high tea or dinner.   The restaurant likes to party and hosts special events like Christmas in July, French in August and also one off event evenings.  The high tea package provides petite wagyu and cheese burgers, macaroons plus creme fraiche and salmon roe sandwiches amongst its several gems on offer.  If I recall right, creme fraiche is less sour than American served fresh cream but it has more butterfat.

Seafood platters are complemented with tropical fruit and chips, but the centerpiece revolves around Balmain bugs, blue swimmer crabs, smoked salmon, fresh oysters, scallops and prawns (fresh lobsters are an option to add).  For breakky, I have earmarked two items, the Thai styled scrambled eggs with a toasted Vienna, and the zucchini fritters with poached egg, basil pesto, haloumi cheese and a roasted tomato,

On this visit, alas, there was no room for dessert!

Duck confit with marmalade of cranberry and orange, supported by a bed of silky carrot puree.

Zimzala is located at:

No 7, The Esplanade, South Cronulla Beach
behind the Cronulla RSL
Telephone 612 9527 2011
Opening hours:
Every day for breakfast and lunch.
Wednesdays to Sundays for dinner
Corkage $5 per person charged for BYO wine.
10 percent surcharge applies on weekends and public holidays.
Catering packages are also available.
Zimzala's catch cry - "A person whop finds solace with sand between their toes and the big blue lapping at their feet."

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