We spoke with the passionate owner of local eatery SUD about food, family, and fine produce
Story by Elena Antoniou
Converse with Paolo Gatto, head chef and owner of SUD Restaurant in Cabarita, and you’ll be struck by his passion for Italian culture, cheeky nature, and profound love of food. Paolo’s family originates from the stunning town of Taormina on the east coast of Sicily, where some of the most exciting Italian food can be bought and consumed in view of Europe’s largest volcano, Mount Etna. The essence of Taormina is infused into his Concord eatery, discreetly positioned on Cabarita Road and offering authentic Italian street food with a modern and distinctive twist.
We chatted with Paolo about the inspiration for SUD and how his love for authentic food was formed.
Where did your idea for SUD come from?
Sud means south in Italian and my intent with this restaurant was to emanate the warmth and hospitality of my people, the southern Italians, and to offer authentic fresh Italian street food that my nonno [grandfather] would be proud of. He lived in Queensland for 26 years, then decided he wanted to live the rest of his life back in Sicily. He is still my inspiration in the kitchen.
Was this your first foray into the food game?
When I came back to Australia after living in Sicily, my dream was to open a restaurant here. I worked three jobs and saved enough money to open Gatto Matto Trattoria in Five Dock [which has since closed]. That restaurant became well known locally and internationally, and my proudest moment was being reviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide with a score of 13.5. [Scoring ranges up to 20, which is reserved for the best three Michelin-hatted restaurants.] Then I opened SUD here in Cabarita in 2015.
What is the most popular dish on the menu?
Without a doubt, the most popular one is the trofie al sugo, which is twisted short pasta, with slow-cooked veal and beef meat in rich tomato sauce topped with parmesan cheese. It is a firm favourite with all the locals.
Where do you get your fresh produce from?
We source from various authentic suppliers. For example, our fishmonger calls me nearly every day to report what he has to offer. Fish is a huge component of our menu, so it’s important to me to source the best I can find. We also work with a small local farmer from Guildford who has been delivering all our fresh fruit and vegetables for years.
If you could eat any dish from anywhere in the world, what would it be?
When I visited Tokyo a few years back, I discovered a restaurant called Sushi Dai inside the Tokyo Fish markets. I had the best fish I have ever tasted in my life there. In fact, I have goosebumps now just thinking about it now.
SUD Southern Italian Street Food
10 Cabarita Road, Concord 02 9739 6120
OPEN Wed-Sat 5.30-10pm, Sun 12-10pm