Award wining chef Lino Sauro takes guests on a culinary journey through Sicily with his creative menu at Olio.
My lunch started with a complimentary amuse-bouche in the form of crackers. I will ashamedly admit I didn’t quite catch the ingredients on top of the crackers but it was certainly a great start to my meal.
The waiter also brought out the bread basket – which to my delight had 3 kinds of bread in it – focaccia, rye bread and carta di musica (Italian crispy crackers). One of my restaurant pet peeves is when a bread basket only has one kind of bread, so kudos to Olio for having 3! The olive oil served with the bread is sourced from Chef Lino’s family farm in Sicily and pairs perfectly with the bread.
Out of the 7 starters on the menu, the arancini and calamari were the two that caught my eye and would later prove to be excellent choices. The saffron flavoured arancini balls were fried golden brown but still fluffy on the inside. A generous shaving of Primo Sale Cheese (a Sicilian cheese made from sheep’s milk) and a rich tomato sauce helps round out the dish. Our other starter, the charcoal grilled calamari was much lighter but still as appetising.
There’s a variety of meat and fish mains on the menu, such as roasted pork belly or steamed blue eyed cod, but I decided to stick with pasta.
Although sea urchin pasta may sound odd to most Australians, it’s a perennial favourite among Sicilians. Chef Lino serves his version with home made egg tagliolini and a creamy sea urchin sauce. Each bite is a luscious explosion of umami and I’m left wanting more. My friend’s dish, rigatoni pasta with tomato sauce, eggplant puree and aged ricotta cheese, is just as appetizing and also a Sicilian specialty.
As the pasta dishes were of generous portions, my friend and I decided to share the signature nougat parfait. Like the rest of the dishes, the delicious dessert also pays homage to Sicily with its toasted Noto almond foam.
Unsurprisingly, Sicilian wines are well represented on Olio’s wine list. Wines from other regions are also on offer, as well as your typical beers and spirits. I opted for the Berry Smash, a refreshing mock tail made with blueberries & raspberries, cranberry juice & fresh lime juice.
Our waiter was professional and very knowledgeable, carefully explaining the menu.
Exposed brick walls and loft style windows create a casual and bright atmosphere for guests during the day, a great place to catch up with friends or a 3rd date.
Olio is a welcomed addition to the Kensington Street dining scene, it introduces modern Sicilian cuisine to Sydney with a refined menu and attentive service.
This review was based on an independently paid meal.
Level 2, The Old Rum Store
2/10 Kensington St
Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 9281 1500