Housed in the rustic warehouse chic of Kensington Street’s Old Rum Store, Olio is an acclaimed modern Italian fine diner that pays loving tribute to chef Lino Sauro’s Sicilian heritage.

After a successful series last year, Olio has brought back its monthly special event titled ‘Four Hands’.

Each dinner involves a six-course menu with dishes prepared by both Sauro and a rotating selection of visiting international chefs.

Each dinner involves a six-course menu with dishes prepared by both Sauro and a rotating selection of visiting international chefs.

The 2018 series kicked off recently with guest Kenjiro Hashida from Singapore’s Hashida Sushi.

A second-generation chef, he brought both a mastery of Japanese cuisine’s umami flavours and an artistic approach to presentation.

Beautifully decked out group tables added to the special event feel, which was only heightened when the two chefs and long-time friends took to the mic to welcome diners and introduce their dishes.

Both were clearly revelling in the opportunity to collaborate and to turn their culinary creativity to some top local produce.

The first stage of the collaborative menu was Chef Hashida’s ‘Colours by Japanese Numbers’ which brought together five different elements showcasing a range of techniques as well as textural variety, using fresh Australian seafood as a launching pad for the amuse-bouche like morsels.

Olio

Particularly good was a scallop served on the shell with mascarpone and nori paste, and an inspired pairing of prawn and native finger lime pearls.
 
Sauro’s first dish was a luscious, lightly seasoned barramundi fillet with Sicilian caponata and a thick, almost creamy pistachio sauce. Each course came with, and was elevated by, a carefully selected matching wine – in this case a mineral-inflected Cato Gruner Veltliner 2017.

Hashida then introduced a left-field choice with his fish noodles, which he followed with a refined take on an Italian classic, acqua pazza, which translates as ‘crazy water’.

"Hashida then introduced a left-field choice with his fish noodles, which he followed with a refined take on an Italian classic, acqua pazza, which translates as ‘crazy water’. "

Something of a tip of the hat to his co-starring chef and Olio’s regional Italian focus, it makes a perfectly moist piece of seafood the centrepiece and brings in many of the flavoursome elements that are synonymous with Italian food: tomato, herbs, oil.

Chef Sauro then offered a New South Wales lamb rump, cooked to just the right tenderness with Sicilian herbs, and almost gamey Morel mushrooms.

Arguably the best was saved for last, however, with Hashida’s ‘dew’ of yuzu and lemon jelly – glassy gel delicately balancing citric and sweet elements. Finally, a dollop of mousse-like salted chocolate rounded out the dessert.

A Botrytis Semillon 2009 from Moppity, a rising wine region in southern New South Wales, was an ideal match with its floral aromatics and fruity tones.

Diners at upcoming events can expect similar levels of gastronomic fireworks. The line-up of chefs includes Michelin star recipients Kim Sun and Ivan Brehm, who have achieved fine dining’s top accolade at Meta and Bacchanalia respectively.

Tickets to each event are A$120, or A$170 with matched wines.

Upcoming editions of Olio’s Four Hands for 2018:

  • 28–29 March
    Chef Kim Sun from Meta
  • 8–9 May
    Chef Carlos Montobbio from Esquina
  • 6–7 June
    Chef Ivan Brehm from Nouri
  • 7–8 August
    Chef Francisco Javier Araya from NAPA
  • (TBC) September
    Chef Eelke Plasmeijer and Chef Ray Adriansyah from Locavore

Want more dining suggestions for Sydney, Australia?