Vanessa: When Sydney spoils you with freakishly hot weather in Autumn there is no better way to pass the days than lunching sea-side. That’s exactly what we did by heading south to Cronulla beach, the home of the fun and fresh eatery, Next Door.
Having grown up north side, Cronulla is not somewhere I have ventured too frequently however my eyes are now opened to this thriving community with its array of eating options that I intend to start making my way through!
Bianca, Baby FFS1 (Alex’s stand in) and mumma squads found ourselves dining at Next Door on what was an absolutely glorious Autumn day. The sun was shining, the restaurant was buzzing and the overall atmosphere was one of joy as everyone seemed to take advantage of the extended summer vibes.
Located on the Kingsway and next to Sealevel restaurant, Next Door is the perfect location to enjoy the views of the beach. As we settled in, we were greeted by the very hospitable manager, Marc. Marc quickly arranged a coffee for me ( as a father himself he understands the need and urgency) as well as a fresh pineapple chiller for Bianca.
We started off with two dishes from the sharing menu. The truffle parmesan arancini ($12) were spectacularly crunchy on the outside, with a generous sprinkling of parmesan over the top. The truffle tones were not overly distinctive but a solid option as a share plate , particularly with the 5-6 arancini that were in the serve.
The braised lamb ribs with chimmi churi and mint ($16) were a crowd pleaser all-round. Absolutely melted in your mouth and the meat was so tender it fell off the bone. A very mild flavor for lamb which I appreciated and the accompanying chimmi churi was perfectly matched.
From the brunch menu we chose the cauliflower fritters ($21) which were served alongside poached eggs, white bean salad, hummus, labneh, sumac and mint. The Middle Eastern vibes are strong with this dish and the labneh, in particular, makes for a wonderfully creamy pairing to the crunchy cauliflower fritter. This was a hit for me, particularly as it incorporated so many of my favourite flavors. It is definitely a substantial brunch option.
It’s fair to say we were all pretty blown away by the pork in the pork bowl ($25). Crispy pork belly, that had been cooked to absolute perfection with a texture that is both soft and crispy, it is next level. It is accompanied by crackling, brown rice, carrot pickle, beans, chilli and salad. This is one complete meal and can highly recommend if you are a fan of pork!!
A serve of crunchy, golden sweet potato fries with harrissa mayo ($8) went down a treat and who could resist!
To finish, we went for the beautifully presented buttermilk waffles ($21). Carefully garnished with autumn berries, honeycomb, marscapone, maple and mint this was a lovely way to round off our meal. The waffles hit the mark on density and the fruits were fresh and popping. Our only minor quibble was the honeycomb was fairly chewy and overall a little more maple syrup might have elevated the flavors.
I can firmly say we walked away very satisfied and if you do find yourself in Cronulla it is one to keep on your radar. The menu is diverse, the pricing is reasonable, the staff attentive and the overall vibe is relaxed which makes for an enjoyable dining experience. It’s also pram and child friendly which, on a personal note, is very much appreciated these days by both myself and my junior foodie in the making!
Photos by Bianca
*For Foods Sake dined as guests of Next Door. Special thanks to Marc for his hospitality .