Authentic Italian eats and sourdough to go
There’s a whole lot to love about Rhonda’s in Terrigal. Let's start with their Italian inspired cocktails and to-die-for pizza and pasta menu, the interiors are an obvious must mention and then there’s the new coffee, pastries and sourdough takeaway deck which launched just last week.
Speaking with co-owner Ty Van Emden his passion and energy for Rhonda’s go a long way to explaining why the seaside pizza, pasta, and rooftop venue is still kicking six years on. Every detail has been considered and no expense has been spared. Did we mention the spaceship in the kitchen?
“We opened Rhonda’s in 2014 and in 2017 we decided to trade in the tapas and switched for an Italian menu. We liked the idea of doing Italian because it's such a solid cuisine, it’s a comfort food and you can go so many places with it.”
“Another reason why we decided to change to Italian was that Richard (Wagemaker), who is part owner and the Executive chef at Rhonda’s, was the Executive Chef to an Italian hospitality group for about 10 years in Sydney. So he has a good understanding of the cuisine, and was really passionate when formulating a menu specifically for Terrigal.”
Ty and Richard not only switched to Italian cuisine but literally imported a little piece of Italy into the Rhonda’s kitchen, that being the massive pizza oven, or "the spaceship" as Ty fondly refers to it as.
“We take our food seriously, so naturally we've invested in the best machinery. It's nicknamed the spaceship - a top of the line woodfired pizza oven that when combined with ironbark, gives everything we cook within that really beautiful flavour.”
The machine itself is incredible, as Ty explains, inside the oven there is volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius to help insulate the almighty beast, ensuring that whilst the outside remains cold, inside the temperature can heat up to an incredible 400 degrees celsius.
The crispy base and rustic flavours make for a truly incredible pizza-eating experience, however, it's the pasta that's made a name for itself. Handmade fresh on site a lot of love and time goes into the process with Ty explaining that whilst it’s quite time-consuming the final product is worth the effort.
More recently the Rhonda’s team have installed a hole-in-the-wall style coffee, deli and sourdough space that’s helping to ease those Covid blues,
“We had to swivel a little bit because of Covid, and we thought if we get locked down again we wanted to have something that could be accessed from the street as well as not being so reliant on deliveries and takeaways."
"The deck also allows us to still be able to connect with locals and the community which is what Rhonda’s is all about.”
From 6:30 am Thursday through to Sunday coffee, relishes, cold cuts, and cheese by the gram are available from the window. You'll also be able to pick yourself up a fresh organic sourdough loaf or baguette, freshly baked straight out of the pizza oven, along with their house-made pasta, and some baked goodies made by none-other than Ty's mum.
Now to the interiors, the moment you enter Rhonda's right up to the rooftop verandah bar there are eye-delights everywhere.
Outside, the 'you wanna pizza me' pink neon sign sets the scene and the fun that's about to be had. Inside, the semi-exposed brick walls extend up to the extraordinarily high ceilings that are broken by lush greenery edits. Scattered throughout the venue are quirky art inserts all of which bring together a cozy and contemporary restaurant, bar space.
Speaking of the rooftop, a walk up the stairs has you entering another dining space and open verandah. Whilst at the moment the area remains as a seated one, pre-Covid it’s where the locals frequented in the evenings, switching from dining to an upbeat speakeasy-style space complete with Balearic tunes and European Riveria vibes.
Regardless of what the seated situation is, Rhonda’s is a must-visit for quality eats, classic cocktails, and casual catchups.