Sicilian is the new Italian, and Olio Kensington Street is here to prove it. Featured as one of the opals of the new Kensington Street complex, Olio looks out over its comrades Bistrot Gavroche and the suitably named Holy Duck next door.
Lino – the owner, creator, and nicest bloke in an apron you’ll ever meet – comes to meet us as we are seated. He tells us that his inspirations for the menu derive from his hometown in Palermo, and so (incidentally) does his olive oil. As if he had magically conjured it from thin air, an enormous basket of homemade sourdough lands in front of us, to be lathered with Lino’s fruity, fragrant oil.
The menu is an homage to the Sicilian sunset and the Mediterranean ocean. Gorgeous char-grilled octopus is brought out, swept with a sundried tomato aioli. A single ostriche oyster shell, decorated with cucumber gel and an orange and balsamic vinigrette, is an explosion of sweetness. My mumma always said that good seafood should taste like the sea smells, and the portions here are testament to that.
The dishes keep coming, including an egg tagliolini with creamy sea urchin sauce, boasting a subtle, salty texture that coats the palate and complements the chewy pasta. The Sicilians sure know how to make a pasta dish that can hold its own.
I should mention here the wine selections; first a Venetian Prosecco – a subtle, sedated beauty with a finer bubble and a herbal edge. Then a Garganega Tamellini DOC from the same region: fresh, fruity, and an ideal accompaniment to the best dish of the night: a Sicilian caponata. This round of eggplant, raisins and tomato is so mouthwatering that I’ve been Googling recipes ever since. The ricotta on top melts in the mouth and the pine nuts are a fresh surprise.
For dessert we enjoy a light and tart blood peach sorbet, and a 70 per cent dark chocolate mille-feuille that is offset nicely by a roasted vanilla bean gelato.
Olio (italian for ‘oil’) is set to be a fixture in the inner city’s newest dining precinct. If you’re after a beautiful spot for a birthday dinner or a proposal, try Sicilian. This tiny island has a lot to say.
Olio Kensington Street is located at 2-10 Kensington St, Chippendale. It’s open Mon – Wed 6-11pm and Thu – Sun 12:30-3pm and 6-11pm.