Casual fine dining with traditional Italian flame-cooked flavours on the peninsula
When Nicola and Alexandra Coccia closed their highly awarded and much-loved Bowral restaurant, Bistro Officina in 2019 little did they know they’d be laying down new roots in the main street of Ettalong on the Central Coast.
Following what was a family weekend away to the quiet coastal village, the Coccia family soon made the permanent move to Ettalong and launched their new restaurant (Osteria il Coccia - pronounced “o-ste-ri-a il co-cha” and which translates to The Coccia Tavern).
Opening in July 2019 within the Italian inspired Galleria Ettalong Beach, it was only ever to be a temporary home, with the couple’s eyes firmly set on establishing themselves within a larger space, one that would allow them to showcase Head Chef Nicola’s love of flame-cooked Italian food to life.
And on May 15, 2022 their dream became reality.
Relocating to 49 The Esplanade, Ettalong Beach, the move may have only been a small one, however the transformation is anything but.
The curved glass frontage provides a welcoming arrival and sets the scene for what's to come. Step inside and you instantly feel at ease with the light Mediterranean-inspired interior tones adding a sense of space to the luxurious restaurant. The timber edits and ceramic tiles are beautifully paired with plush furnishings and wicker pendants which add warmth and that settle in kind of feeling.
Alexandra explained the restaurant was designed to encourage guests to relax and take in all the happenings of Ettalong Esplanade whilst experiencing Nicola’s fiery 6 course degustation menu.
For diners who prefer to get amongst the action, book your seat at the bar.
Perched in direct view of the kitchen it’s here that you’ll truly be able to appreciate Nicola’s skills and the next level kitchen set up that has been specifically designed to assist Nicola control the flames and wood-fired grill.
One of only two restaurants in the country to cook entirely with fire, every meal that is part of the 6 course set menu has been cooked over fire and coals as Alexandra explains,
“The kitchen at our other location was a quarter of the size, so now you can easily see into the other side. People would never guess this is how we cook, it’s hard work as it’s fire and you don’t have the same control as the heat has to be managed manually."
Sitting in the middle of the kitchen is the oven Nicola makes his own charcoal from, and right alongside this is the grandmother oven that is wood fire only - "just like grandma’s cooking', Nicola adds.
“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own restaurant with a set menu, small number of people and all the food passed through my hands,” said Nicola.
For those not familiar with Nicola's cooking creds, it a long and impressive list. With restaurants like El Bulli, Quay, Ormeggio, QT, Otto Ristorante, Biota Dining and New Zealand’s first hatted restaurant, Toto' Ristorante, on his resume – you know the food is going to be a master class in Italian flavour.
Together with wife and business partner Alexandra's passion and wine knowledge expect a more extensive list featuring premium Italian and French organic wines from the regions of Naples (Nicola’s home) and mid-south and mid-west France (Alexandra’s home), Italian beers and a small selection of Italian cocktails.
If you like to be taken on a journey with your food and wine dining experience, take the 6 course degustation with matching wines, each hand selected by Alexandra herself.
Not only has Nicola worked in some incredible restaurants but he’s also a published author, having penned his own Italian cookbook called Farm to Flame – Cooking without Rules in the Bistro Officina Kitchen in 2018.
“After many years spent in fine dining, and after I wrote the cookbook, I decided no more fine dining, I want to cook with fire. I’d been working with these powerful fire jets and I just knew I wanted to cook with fire,” said Nicola.
The set menu at Osteria il Coccia changes every two weeks, meaning it’s seasonal, fresh, innovative and made with a lotta love. One thing you can count on is that it’s cooked by flame. They also do a fantastic vegetarian set menu, catering for all palates.
Nicola uses the best ingredients including the meats, cheese, vegetables and seafood, sourced from all over Australia. They bake their own bread in a wood oven every day you know it’s going to be fresh and top notch. They’re also the only restaurant on the coast making their bread from the famed Woods Organic Flour Mill. Also make sure you sample their house smoked butter.
How lucky we are to have such an accomplished chef and fantastic restaurant on the Central Coast. If you haven’t been yet...book now.