The Old Library

First it was a church. Then it was a library. Now it’s a buzzy Italian restaurant


Cronulla has grown up behind our backs! Owner Mario Kalpou has main-lined a fresh dose of style into the area with his new modern-Italian venture, the Old Library. And chefs David Magill and Danny Russo, previously from Italian Kitchen and Bar in Bondi Junction, are plating up classic Italian flavours combined with contemporary technique.
Take the beguiling caprese marshmallows: a herb broth is whipped with gelatine, set into fluffy squares, then rolled in a soft parmesan crumb that vanishes as it hits your tongue, leaving a mouthful of flavour in its wake.
Roman-style zucchini flowers are stuffed with a porcini and ricotta mix and come crisp and hot. There’s a little Middle Eastern influence in the lamb shoulder, which is slow-braised, shredded, pressed then pan-fried to create a crisp crust, and is served on top of roasted eggplant (which would have been a win if it had been a purée), hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. Can’t decide what to order? There are five different ‘social plates’ ranging from seafood, to antipasti and cheese.
The atmosphere here slinks between a fitting setting for a summery long lunch that stretches into afternoon cocktails, to a dressed-up evening spot for dinner. And the cocktails here are really kicking arse, too. The Whisky Business is a short dose of smoky toffee combining whiskey, ginger liqueur, house-made spice syrup and fresh lemon, finished with caramelised Lagavulin. The Chapter III will also impress, with Campari, Punt e Mes, Pimms, rosé, grapefruit juice, lime, mint and Fever Tree ginger ale.
While the the pastas are a rather pricey hit-or-miss, the custard apple panna cotta is a sublime tropical wobble with a crunchy hazelnut praline and a chewy rhubarb roll-up (just like at school!) impaled in its centre – a dish that you ain’t going to want to share.

The Old Library has stepped up the Cronulla dining scene, could this be a taste of more to come down south? 

Want to attend the Sydney Food Awards?

First published on . Updated on .

By Sophie McComas   |  

The Old Library details

Shop 1/15 Surf Road

Cronulla 2230

Telephone 02 9544 5360

Price per person including drinks from $10.00 to $100.00

Open Thu-Sun noon-late

The Old Library website

Cronulla area guide

The Old Library map

Restaurants near The Old Library

Grind Espresso

0m - Just up from Cronulla Beach , the much beloved Grind cafe has moved from...

Fratelli Del Mare

145m - Fratelli Del Mare is an Italian restaurant with a modern Australian twist....

South Beach Seafoods

152m - Before the sun sets, grab a box of fish and chips from South Beach Seafoods...

Bars & pubs near The Old Library

The Brass Monkey

99m - If you’re in the mood for live music any night of the week, the Brass...


226m - This bottle shop located in the Shire offers over 200 beers from both local...

Blind Bear Saloon

260m - Want chicken wings and a pale ale in the shire? Then head to the 1920s...

Other venues near The Old Library

Around Cronulla

130m - This beachside suburb is located 26km south of Sydney . Its vast stretch of...

Dorso's Deep Sea Fishing

130m - Deep sea fishing charters in south Sydney from $100pp.

Cronulla SUP Shop and School

403m - Cronulla SUP Shop and School offers a bunch of different classes to suit...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.