We’re big fans of the thriving foodie scene which has sprung up at the gentrified Kensington Street precinct next to Central Park and have been meaning to check out Olio for a while, as the Italian cuisine on offer there is something different from the predominantly Asian restaurants on that street. We booked ourselves in for a weekend lunch with friends and were impressed by the sleek, industrial chic decor on entry into the converted warehouse space.
Some of the pastas on the menu featured some intriguing ingredients, so we ended up getting 4 different pastas to sample. I chose the homemade Ravioli which had a tasty king prawn filling and an absolutely addictive black truffle and burrata sauce which coated each pillow of pasta. While the black truffle was actually a powder rather than fresh shavings (not surprising given that it wasn’t truffle season when we visited), the sauce was still very flavoursome and was one of the highlights of the meal.
The boy went for the Risone, served with a large sliver of raw tuna, sundried tomato pesto and caper leaves. This option wasn’t quite as flavourful as the Ravioli, but the mix of fresh and light ingredients made for a refreshing summer dish.
Our friends went with the delicious Tonnarelli which showcased a squid ink spaghetti with shredded spanner crab and Monteporo’s nduja (spreadable spicy Italian salami) and also the homemade egg Tagliolini coated in a salty sea urchin sauce. They enjoy their seafood, so the fact that the sea urchin sauce tasted strongly of the sea was not an issue for them but those who aren’t quite as into their seafood may find it quite overpowering.
We had made sure that we left some room for dessert after we had spotted the gorgeous Mandarino dessert being brought out to another table and we weren’t disappointed at all after we dug into the delicate jelly exterior to find the soft honey mousse and liquid mandarin centre melding together to create a delectable dessert that looks a lot like the famous Heston Blumenthal Meat Fruit but tastes nothing like it.
We also shared the chef’s signature nougat parfait Semifreddo with a toasted almond sauce and the well-executed Millefoglie which came with chocolate mousse layers and a fantastic burnt vanilla gelato. Both desserts hit the mark in their own way with their different flavour combos and textures ranging from chilled to crispy, serving as a great way to cap off our lunch.
Olio lives up to its billing as an upscale restaurant that dishes up some interesting modern Italian dishes with fine dining touches like an amuse bouche to start and petit fours to round out the meal. It’s a nice choice for a date night or special occasion, if you don’t mind the premium pricing which reflects the calibre of their decor and focus on quality ingredients and cooking techniques.
2/2/10 Kensington Street, Chippendale NSW 2008
Phone: (02) 9281 1500