Gallura Italian is the latest venue from seasoned hospitality veterans Maki and Mike Dackiw. For ten years they operated a trattoria and cocktail bar in Milan called La Pesa, then in 2010 they returned to Sydney to open La Pesa’s sister venue in Darlinghurst. Though, regular visitors to the Northern Rivers region would be more familiar with their most recent outpost – Park Street Pasta Bar in Brunswick Heads, which they ran from 2013 until last year. Maki and Mike took over the space left vacant by Sozo Cafe to embark on their newest project Gallura Italian, a charming dining space that’s aiming to blend the flavours and methods of Sardinia and other key Italian coastal regions with the fresh produce found in our own coast – Tweed Heads.
After securing the site, Maki (front of house) and Mike (head chef) spent weeks back over in Sardina – and while they were there, they wrote Gallura’s entire menu. The menu is designed to reflect traditional Sardinian specialties, with a few subtle twists and modern adaptations to ensure the local seafood remains in the foreground. The antipasti offering features smaller plates like chargrilled local octopus with cannellini-bean crema, pickled green tomatoes, baby radish and nduja, authentic pannelle (chickpea fritters) with red chilli, sheep’s curd and pickled red onion, and traditional Sardinian flat bread known as ‘pane frattu’, served with tomato salsa, lamb broth, pecorino sardo and topped with a soft-poached duck egg. All of the pastas are made from scratch in house, featuring Italian favourites like spaghetti vongole (clams) and a lemon-butter risotto with king prawns (pulled straight from the Tweed). You can tuck into 1kg of black mussels, the Tweed king prawns with Gallura’s gazpacho, local market fish with asparagus and sweet-pea crema, or experience the signature 450-gram scampi, which are brandy flamed with citrus and vermentino. As for land-based eats, there’s a grain-fed eye fillet with rosemary and chilli polenta chips and black-truffle butter, and lamb ossobucco with gnocchetti sardi, salted ricotta and gremolata.
Like to finish on a sweet note? Choose from traditional desserts like the Sardinian seadas (fried semolina dumplings) filled with ricotta and served with local organic honey and caramelised apples, and the limoncello tiramisu (where the sponge is soaked in limoncello instead of coffee). Behind the bar you’ll find an Italian-only wine list featuring unique and little-known varietals (some sourced from the depths of Sardinia) that will surely entice adventurous sippers, as well as a series of unique cocktails (including a burnt orange negroni) and Sardinian beers. The seating sprawls both indoors and out, with extra stool seating outside for those after a casual snack and sip. Though, the best seat in the house is up at the bar – you’ll get full view of Mike and the kitchen team working their magic.
Keen to experience a slice of Sardinia? You’ll find other details like opening hours and contact info over in Gallura’s Stumble Guide listing.