All images provided by Mario The Old Library. The image of the book art is viaImage via 19 Karen
As a Cronulla local for many years, and someone who loves good food and beautiful surroundings, I have been dreaming of the day we would have a fabulous restaurant and bar locally. The Old Library could very well be the answer! "Cronulla has never seen the likes of this before,” says restaurateur Mario Kalpou of his freshly opened restaurant and bar, The Old Library. There is definitely a buzz surrounding this brand new restaurant, and both locals and Sydneysiders alike have been flocking to check it out.
For the past two years The Old Library has been the labour of love for Mario Kalpou, who has overseen the finest detail through to the big picture of this million-dollar ‘baby’. In the refurbishment of the 1908 building – originally a church and converted to a library in the 1970s – Kalpou worked with acclaimed, award winning interior designers Hecker Guthrie (designed the stunning Ivy, The Millswyn, Grace, The Public Dining Room).
What I love about this place is that Hecker Guthrie, the collective talent of Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie, has designed the space with consideration of the seaside location and the original library architecture in mind. Add the magic touch of acclaimed stylist Sibella Court (of The Society Inc, featured many times on eat read love), and you have a gorgeous, relaxing and contemporary space to enjoy delicious Italian food with your friends and loved ones.
So many design elements to love - the white vaulted timber-lined ceiling, luxe linen lounges, cosy fireplace alcoves, industrial lighting, the Billiani ‘Aloe’ chairs, and custom made American Oak tables. Oh and I cannot ignore the uncanny connection between my passion for books and food, the essence of eat read love, and the wonderful book themed extras. The walls are cleverly designed with bookshelf paintings by Sydney artist Hugh Ford!
"It was also vital to incorporate a library theme without being clichéd. This has been achieved with clever, witty touches such as the bookshelf paintings, and in the menu where the courses are renamed with bookish twists such as ‘foreword’ for entrée, and the bar menu presented in chapters 1 to 5". Says Kalpou
Kalpou has brought in celebrity chef Danny Russo, a multi ‘hat’ awardee in the prestigious Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards, and his long-time culinary partner, chef David McGill. Together they create traditional Italian dishes in a modern style.
Dining at The Old Library last Saturday, with fellow design lover Mel from The Source, certainly lived up to my expectations. Danny Russo greeted us as we left to ask 'did we enjoy' to which we replied a definite YES. I cannot wait to go back and try some of the signature dishes including the roast figs with prosciutto, goats cheese and truffle honey and the almond milk panna cotta with lavender, strawberries and meringue sounds dreamy!
I must not forget to mention the extensive Italian wine list by renowned Sydney sommelier Nick Caraturo. The bar is a destination in its own right, a great place to meet friends for a cocktail or wine with a casual Old Library social plate.
Fabulous eats, a touch of history and quirkiness in the 'library' theme, and a dash of Sibella style at my local. Oh and not to forget the gorgeous new Charbella Homewares next door. Happy days in my home town ! Natalie x