The idea of dining in Gosford doesn’t usually fill me with joy. My good food hit rate on the Central Coast hasn’t been high. My stomach sank even further when my dining companion for the day pulled into something that looked like a cross between a business park and a home wares centre. “Please don’t let it be awful,” I mouthed quietly to myself as we parked.
We walk into a corridor that runs between two sections of Fountain Plaza, and I scan for the entrance to the restaurant. As it turns out, the walkway transition between buildings is the restaurant. I need a drink, and fast. Expecting fruity cocktails containing Midori, I was surprised to find a very credible list. True North ($18) takes Canadian whisky and tames it with muddled pear, maple syrup, sugar, lemon and a frothy head of egg white. It’s subtle and well made.
I cover my surprise by tucking into equally credible bread with lovely La Masseria Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The oil is fruity and fragrant with a nice punch of spice and bitterness. I buy a container to take home.
The concise menu is equally impressive. All of the pastas are made in-house, starting with fluffy Ricotta Gnocchi ($20). The soft, cheesy pillows are given an indulgent treatment with grated black truffle, mascarpone and white wine that sees me ask for more bread to scrape up the remainder. Colour me impressed.
When owner Michael Fantuz arrives at the table brandishing a giant wheel of pecorino, things start to become clearer. As he hand-mixes Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe ($19) with pecorino, pepper and olive oil, then serves it onto a plate, he explains he’s actually the man behind Sydney’s popular Buffalo Dining Club and Johnny Fishbone Wine Parlour. While I’ve dined at the former, the no-reservations policy at the latter put me off. Fantuz tells me he tried out a similar policy here in Erina, but diner feedback saw him quickly abandon the idea.
Sated and satisfied with the lovely simple pasta that let the quality of each ingredient shine, I give the oddball location more thought over a well-made Negroni ($18). For an Italian restaurant, a connecting alley between buildings actually makes sense, especially when you look at the Italian laneway culture depicted on the wall. And the pasta here is great.
Remy & Co. Pasta Bar
Fountain Plaza, 19/2 Ilya Avenue, Erina
Ph: (02) 4365 6730