Punk-rock nonnas, pillowy pasta and sensational sips – say ciao to Cross Eyed Mary
Named after the Jethro Tull song of the same name (What. A. Vibe.), Cross Eyed Mary has transformed the hole-in-the-wall space formerly occupied by Tasca on Coolangatta’s Griffith Street into a charming pasta-and-wine bar that is modernising tradition with good, honest fare, craft cocktails and some seriously impressive sips of vino. The dark and moody interior has been given a fresh lick of paint to feature a white weatherboard exterior and welcoming terracotta-and-white interior that imbues a real ‘summer in Tuscany’ vibe. Whilst she may be small in stature, Cross Eyed Mary is here to leave a big impression …
Cross Eyed Mary is the latest from Tony and Claudia Pattinson, who brought us Coolangatta’s eternally adored Francie’s, alongside Ashley Kent as chef/owner-operator. Ashley has previously worked in hatted restaurants around Sydney including Quay and Three Blue Ducks as well as Cabarita’s Paper Daisy before returning to the southern Gold Coast to take the position of head chef at Tasca. Pasta is undoubtedly the hero here and while the menu features all of the hallmarks of authentic Italian cuisine, Cross Eyed Mary is all about modernising tradition. If you ask them (which we did), they’re just a bunch of punk-rock nonnas cooking good, honest food but, truth be told, Cross Eyed Mary is much much more than that. The pasta is handmade from scratch and when they say handmade, they really mean it – every single piece of fat pappardelle, plump ravioli or pillowy gnocchi that makes its way onto a plate has been kneaded, rolled and shaped by Ashley’s own hands without a single piece of machinery. The sourdough focaccia (yum!) served with house-made table cheese and olive oil is an excellent place to start and if you’re in the mood for a little palate cleanser, the local kingfish with buttermilk, cucumber, apple and finger lime will do the trick. When it comes to the mains, the potato, leek and ricotta-stuffed ravioli topped with brown butter and crisp sage is pretty popular, as is the spiced-oxtail ragu. Meat-free and plant-based pals will also be pleased to know that if you flip the menu over, there’s a whole side that’s dedicated to vegan starters, pasta mains and sides.
Not to be outdone by the fare, the drinks list is equally as tightly curated and features some top-notch tipples. Standouts include the venue’s signature Dirty Mary martini, a grapefruit negroni and Gintellegence, which features Sloe gin, Tanqueray, seasonal berries, house-made mixed-berry shrub and kombucha. The wine list is predominantly boutique drops from Australia however there are a couple from New Zealand and Italy to round out the selection. Cross Eyed Mary operates on a walk-in only basis and is envisaged as a kind of late-night watering hole where people can congregate over excellent food and spirited conversation. If Cross Eyed Mary is just a bunch of punk-rock nonnas, prepare to become its number one groupie.
For opening times, stroll over to our Stumble Guide.
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