Olio Kensington St
Level 2, The Old Rum Store, 2-10 Kensington Street, Chippendale 2008, Australia
Dinner – Mon-Sat: 6pm-10pm
Lunch – Thurs-Sat: 12pm-3pm
(02) 9281 1500
We thank the day that chef Lino Sauro picked up and left his home in Sicily to share his contemporary and unexpected Italian dining experience with us Sydney-Siders.
The Kensington Street strip is effortlessly cool, with a miss mash of multi level fine dining glass restaurants, to terrace house bars and small pockets of food havens. It’s a street that no matter what night is bustling with a sense of excitement, hunger and a good time.
Olio is a restaurant that adds a sense of casual elegance and sophistication to the designer street. When you first walk in you feel as if it’s part art gallery, part warehouse, and part restaurant. It’s open plan, yet you don’t feel exposed. It’s modern, but not clinical, and it’s run by knowledgeable, passionate Italians who just add to the exclusivity of it all.
But on top of all this, is damn good food, great service and one well run bar.
It’s Tuesday night, 6:30pm. There’s a few other tables filled with chatty groups of friends and couples scattered throughout, however, even though it’s open plan, the noise is fine, the lighting perfect, and the view from the large arch windows, the perfect frame to people watch from level 2.
We noticed the 8:00pm timeslot was the most popular, and even then, noise was no issue, service still impeccable and the vibe still excitable yet sophisticated.
So let’s start with the reason we’re here. To eat and drink.
To start- you must have their aperol spritz . You’re in mini Italy. And let me tell you, they do a fabulous one.
Before you start
As traditional Italians do, bread of course is your welcome staple. 3 textures and grains are generously portioned and accompanied by a little dish of pure joy: House made Burrata with a dash of anchovies and mint. Swish the bread in the olive oil and dive into the burrata and you’re already off to a cracker start.
Primi e Pasta
We started with the Calamari ($26). Chargrilled on a bed of tomato, fennel and lemon vinaigrette it was a pretty sight for hungry eyes. Beautifully presented as a half moon the colours popped against the blue plate. The salad was jam packed with flavour and was a refreshing start to the meal. To be honest, the calamari was not my not my favourite of the night, a little thick for my liking, however had a delicious smokey BBQ-ness to it, which kept me intrigued.
With 8 mouth watering pastas to choose from we locked in the Homemade Ravioli with King Prawns, Black Truffle and Burrata Sauce ($32).
4 European pillows lighly submerged in a white and bronzed sauce, freckled in black truffle, and filled with substantial king prawn meat- these were a must order on our list.
Carne e Pesce
If we thought the Ravioli were the standout. We were wrong. The mains were where the magic really happened.
First, the Angello: 48hrs Lamb Neck with Pumpkin Puree, Black Truffle Jus, Plum Gel ($42).
Possibly the best lamb & puree i’ve ever had. Two beautiful pink thick pieces of lamb, nestled amongst a generous, flavoursome and creamy pumpkin puree just shone. Each bite was succulent and melted in your mouth. My absolute standout for the evening.
Second, the Dentice: Grilled Wild Snapper, Sicilian Caponata, Pistachio Sauce ($38).
The meaty white fish, dusted in a pistachio crumb was lovingly held by a rich ratatouille like tomato base, which bursted with a smokey, comforting flavour. The creamy pistachio sauce topped the dish off, balancing the salt, sweetness and heartiness of the dish. Again, one of the best pieces of snapper I have had.
After a whirlwind and passionate affair with our courses, we didn’t have too much room for dessert.
But that wasn’t an issue.
Singing out on the menu was the Brioche e Granita ($18).
A sweet edible slushy like dessert, with fragments of brioche, mint leaves, nectarine and creamy ice cream.
The highlights were the hidden chunks of fruit, and the slithers of brioche. It was a delicious and refreshing end to the meal.
If anything, I wish there was more brioche!! But in saying that, I had eaten plenty of carbs earlier, so I shouldn’t complain.
If you like a cool space, great cocktails, wonderful service and delicious food, Olio is a must on your Kensington Street Check off list.