Is there anything more lavish for a passionate foodie than a long lunch?
Over the course of a sun drenched autumnal weekend, Secret Foodies guests were lured to the iconic Kensington Street precinct. This bustling foodie hub is profuse with delicious eating spots. From the hawker-style street markets at Spice Alley to fine dining restaurants, your options are limitless.
On Level Two of The Old Rum Store is Olio. Italian for olive oil, Olio first opened its doors in early 2017. This contemporary restaurant played host to our most recent Secret Foodies experience.
At 10am, guests were sent the secret text message revealing the location of the event. Come midday, it was time for the long lunch to begin. The corks of magnum Viticoltore Prosecco NV Vento Italy bottles popped, flutes splashed with peach puree to create the first drink of the day, a peach bellini. With the sun shining down, guests mingled on the Olio terrace, clasping their refreshing aperitif in hand.
Having eased into the first part of the day, it was time for guests to be seated for lunch. Long tables were dressed with elegant cutlery, long stemmed wine glasses and the distinctive Secret Foodies masks. Ms Darlinghurst encouraged everyone to put the mask on at least once.
Wine glasses were quickly filled with Poggiotondo ‘Blanco’ Vermentino Ansonica 2015. Situated in the hills to the northwest of Empoli in western Tuscany, the Poggiotondo estate has been certified organic since the 2014 vintage. With an aromatic nose showing delicate fruit and floral aromas, this Italian drop made for the perfect accompaniment to the dishes to come.
Ms. Darlinghurst, aka Alex Adams, next introduced herself to the crowd. Guests were given insights into the world of Secret Foodies and how it came to fruition 8 years ago.
Following the clinking of glasses between guests, it was time for the first of many dishes of the day. Perfectly crisp, golden arancini resting atop a vibrant tomato sauce soon arrived. Gliding the knife into each arancini, everyone quickly discovered a molten cheese core. Decadent and utterly delicious, you could hear the hums of delight circulating around the room.
Next on the cards was grilled calamari al Limone. Visually striking with an array of vibrant colours; flavours of tomato, fennel and lemon vinaigrette worked only too well together.
No Italian long lunch is complete without pasta, and sure enough it was the next dish to land on the table at Olio. Rigatoni, cooked perfectly al dente, came dressed in a tomato sauce. Woven into each mouthful was also dollops of pureed eggplant and aged ricotta cheese, making for a flavourful and comforting dish.
With wine glasses topped up, and dishes cleared in preparation for the impending courses, Justin from Cuttings Wine Merchants wines came up to talk more about the wines. For the white drinkers, there was Poggiotondo Blanco, a blend of Vermentino and Ansonic 2015. As for the lovers of red, Poggiotondo Rosso, a blend of Sangiovese and Canaiolo, was also available.
With a short break in between courses, guests at last had enough room for the next dishes. For mains, foodies were treated to both Humpty Doo Barramundi and 48 hour Saltbush lamb neck. The barramundi, teamed with silver beets, Salmoriglio and mayonnaise was light and well balanced. Lovers of lamb relished the slow cooked lamb dish, accompanied with pumpkin puree and drops of tangy plum gel.
Although many stomachs were full to bursting, side dishes of crispy rosemary potatoes and seasonal mixed salads certainly didn’t go astray.
As with all Secret Foodies experiences, it was next time to meet the behind-the-scenes talent. Award-winning chef Lino Sauro introduced himself to the crowd, telling all of his passion for Sicilian cooking and how he came to Olio. Guests were given insights into his career, whilst learning more about Olio.
As for dessert, it was a classically Italian affair. Bowls of tiramisu landed to the table alongside Lino’s signature nougat parfait, served with a toasted almond sauce.
Olio crafted a Secret Foodies menu that will no doubt inspire guests to come back in hoards. Our Italian Long Lunch was so much fun, made all the more enjoyable by the hospitable staff and talented chefs.
Olio Kensington Street
Level 2, The Old Rum Store, 2-10 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Open Dinner Mon to Sun: 6pm – 11:00pm and lunch Sat and Sun: 11:30am – 3:00pm
For more information and bookings visit https://olio.kensingtonstreet.com.au/