Louisiana-style crispy chicken and ice-cold Italian beers on offer in Ettalong
You would have heard of a few businesses mixing things up and getting innovative during COVID-19, but maybe none so much as restaurant owners, Alexandra and Nicola Coccia.
The dynamic duo owners of Osteria il Coccia at Ettalong didn’t just mix it up, they literally flipped the table at their premises on Ocean View Road, cutting their premium Italian restaurant in half and turning the front into a high-end fried chicken shop. It’s innovation at its best!
When accomplished chef Nicola began mixing up his cooking style back in 2016, he spent time with the owners of famed The Hot Chicken Project in Geelong, learning the recipe and how to cook the chicken and it was then that the idea caught fire in his mind… Louisana style fried chicken.
It wasn’t until COVID-19 hit and with ambitious wife, Alexandra in his ear saying “do the chicken project!” that he even had the time to bring the idea to life.
“Most of the area used to be wine storage for the restaurant. We had to redesign the whole restaurant, new frying vats and hoods, new fridges, new sinks. Our chef Luca had never done fried chicken before so I taught him the recipe.”
The idea that was brought to life in a matter of weeks now seems like it’s been here forever. The interiors are contemporary with cool Hot Chicken Project inspired art on the walls, high stools and tables and a pendant-lit bar.
It’s the perfect place to meet with friends for a casual feed. The menu is no fuss. Pick your chicken (tenders, wings, drumsticks), pick your heat (no heat, medium heat, this is mental), then pick your sides (potato salad, fries, pickled cabbage) and sauce and you’re done. Don’t forget a serve of doughnut ice cream to finish off!
The bar includes Italian and local beers including Six Strings and Balter, as well as Italian and French wines and a small selection of Italian cocktails including negronis, Aperol spritz and espresso martinis.
Alexandra said she’s been surprised by the consumer demand for premium wines in what is really more of a relaxed style dining experience, compared to their Italian restaurant at the back.
“I started by just having a few house wines on the drinks list to begin with, and then people started to ask if we had a wider variety of wine and I would just go and grab them the wine list from the restaurant.
“It’s nothing now for our customers to be sitting here eating fried chicken with a $60 plus bottle of wine. It really wasn’t what we were expecting but we’re rolling with it,” said Alexandra.
And it’s this vibe that sums up the whole restaurant perfectly… the casual comfort of fried chicken merged with the classiness of your best plonk. If this doesn’t scream Central Coast, I don’t know what does. We’ve got a feeling these guys are going to make themselves right at home round here!
Head to Visit Central Coast to explore more Central Coast eats