Tag Archives: Diner

Interview: Mario Kalpou, The Old Library

Originally a library in the 70s, The Old Library has been redeveloped into Cronulla’s hottest modern Italian diner. By the Sydney beach, hungry guests can relax in the spacious sit-down eatery, that comes with complementing bar and private dining room, and indulge in delicious Italian flavours. It boasts an impressive menu as well as a character-filled interior that’s been shortlisted in the Hospitality Design award category at the 2012 Australian Interior Design Awards.

Owner, Mario Kalpou says, “The space was designed with relevance to its surroundings. The interior is reflective of a contemporary seaside establishment while still retaining the essence of the original building and its features including its vaulted, timber-lined ceiling.” We chat to Mario about the award-nominated design.

Describe The Old Library before you got your hands on it?
It wasn’t in the best shape. All I had to work with was the bones of the building, but what great bones they were! There was an amazing sense of volume, and its character was screaming at me. I knew I had a winner! The inspiration was to keep it classy yet not intimidating and also very much in touch with its surroundings, the beach.

What was it like working with designers Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie who helped revamp The Old Library?
When it comes to design, the most important aspect of doing a job in partnership is speaking the same language. We successfully bounced ideas off each other. I had to incorporate hospitality and industry practicality with their vision of aesthetics and, it was a juggle, but we nailed it!

What’s you favourite feature of the restaurant’s design?
The bar and the book lounge.

What does it mean to be short-listed in the Hospitality Design award category at the Australian Interior Design Awards?
Not to sound arrogant, but I wasn’t extremely surprised because I knew how much we put into its design, of course, it’s always humbling to see your hard work pay off. It means a hell of a lot and it’s great to know we’re up there with some of the country’s best venues.

What can people expect when visiting the old library?
To me it’s all about the experience. Food and beverage is about bringing people together, creating a great vibe and sharing — that’s what I want people to feel. The food is good, simple, fresh, Italian cuisine. I don’t believe in complicating food, we use fresh produce and always the best! We keep it seasonal — the way it should be.

The Old Library owner, Mario Kalpou, shares his Fast Five with us next week! Stay tuned.

Fig Salad

Chocolate Budino

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