SFUSO, the new name for what used to be Rockwater, is the sort of casual eatery many would like to have on the next corner.
The food is simple but fine, the service friendly and the menu and wine prices reasonable.
And judging by an almost full house at a recent midweek dinner and the number of takeaways being collected, Blackmans Bay locals seem to have taken Sfuso to heart.
Especially, I’m told, on Sunday evenings when the place is packed for the regular live music gigs.
Then, of course, sitting outside on a balmy night, there’s the ocean view, the soft sound of the surf and the moon on the water to make things taste even better.
Our dinner got off to a very good start with three delicious bruschettas topped with walnut pesto, tasty rather than tinny sundried tomatoes and bocconcini, followed by nicely cooked asparagus with crisped prosciutto and walnut crumbs in a butter sauce.
Then a beautifully presented pizza, the base thin and properly cooked with the walnut pesto again and each portion topped with a prawn and an attractive floret of fetta, red onion and basil.
Fettuccine with prosciutto ‘‘ crudo’’, green peas, parsley and egg cream was nicely cooked and liberally sauced but could have done with a lift in flavour while, on the other hand, the strong flavours of an olive and preserved lemon stuffing were perhaps better suited to a more robust meat than the delicacy of roasted quail.
While duck, pork and prawns as well as a number of accompanying ingredients appear in various guises as pizza toppings and again in the pasta mains, there’s also fresh fish of the day ocean trout on the night and a 250g grain- fed fillet with roasted rosemary bintjes, greens and peppercorn or porcini jus as alternatives.
So there’s room for improvement and perhaps a little more variety in some of the combinations, something the owners, Nana Coburn and Mat Conboy, say they are working on.
Mat has previously had a career in wine marketing, most recently spending many years working with Peter Althaus and Domain A.
A good start calls for a happy ending and ‘‘ Heston’s lemon tart’’ with cream and a flourless orange cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream followed by excellent coffee rounded the night off well.