If there is one thing we would love to be doing right now, it is slurping hand rolled pasta and sipping on a glass of wine as big as our heads, watching the world go by in a cosy little Italian wine bar.
Alas, we cannot but what we absolutely can be doing is the next best thing and that is venturing down to Coolangatta to pull up a chair at a brand new venue by some exceptional people whose culinary handiwork you’re hopefully already familiar with.
The new addition is called Cross Eyed Mary and it’s by the clever folks (and new business partner Ashley Maree-Kent) who gifted us Francie’s Pizzeria a little while ago.
If you’ve had the pleasure of munching on a Francie’s slice you’ll be thrilled to know Cross Eyed Mary’s is of the same very high quality and so you better get down there, an Italian feast awaits.
Found on Griffith Street where Tasca once lived, the newbie is everything you’d expect a quaint little Italian eatery to be – white weatherboard with a little awning and high tables out the front and inside, cosy booth seating, colourful art, stacks of wine and fruit bowls for decoration.
It’s the perfect aesthetic for Italian eats, fresh, modern and comforting and with the ability to float you all the way to the Italian seaside but you know, legally.
The menu is made up of an Antipasti section with starters like Local Kingfish with buttermilk, cucumber, apple and fingerlime and Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with ricotta, lemon and herbs to name a couple.
Then, the piece de resistance, the handmade pasta.
There’s Spiced Oxtail Ragu, Ravioli with potato, leek, ricotta, brown butter sage (YES PLEASE) and Confit Chicken Tonnarelli with egg bottarga, cavalo nero and marjoram.
All absolutely mind-blowing and all created by Head Chef Ashley Kent, whose insane work you would have sampled at Tasca in the past. If not, pop it at the top of your to-do list.
To sip, there’s an array of wine curated by Cork and Co. including plenty of local varieties and Whistling Boy from NZ. Hot tip; Cross Eyed Mary are the only place in Australia that sells this tasty drop.
There are also epic cocktails like the Gintelligence with Slow Gin, Tanqueray, seasonal berries, housemade mixed berry shrub and Kombucha and the Dirty Mary with gin, Vermouth and olive brine. Tried, tested and ten out of ten.
The entire menu suggest wine pairings for each dish so all you need to do is choose something tasty (won’t be hard) and then sit back and enjoy the welcoming Italian vibes right in the heart of Coolangatta.
Good times await friends.
Cross Eyed Mary is walk-ins only but you can always take a stroll to the beach while you wait for a table and trust us, it’s worth a wait.
Love you pasta. And wine. And all things Italy.
LOCATION: 114 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
HOURS: Tuesday to Saturday from 5.30pm
Words and photos by Kirra Smith