When the Glam Team was invited to try out the new menu at Osteria Oggi, we jumped at the chance. Not because of the thought of delicious food (although don’t get us wrong, that was certainly a strong incentive), but because of the man behind the new restaurant…
Simon Kardachi may not be a name that you have heard before, but maybe you have heard these names… The Pot, Press*, Melt, Bread & Bone, Maybe Mae, Proof and now, Osteria Oggi. Yes, Simon is the genius behind all of those Adelaide favourites. We sat down with the man himself to find out more about owning a veritable restaurant empire, plus what we can expect from his newest venture (which is ridiculously delicious, read our review here).
Starting off with The Pot (originally The Melting Pot) sixteen years ago, Simon says that even then, he felt a bit ahead of the times. In a world where entree, main and dessert was still the way of life, he came in and shook it up with the idea of communal and shared eating.
“I love the idea of people being able to chat about what they are eating to the people that they are sharing the meal with. They are tasting the same flavours and sharing the same experience. That is how I ate when I grew up, so I wanted to bring that to the restaurant industry in Adelaide,” says Simon.
But that idea of grazing, communal and sharing took a while to kick off… However, fifteen years in and Simon has really brought to life that intrinsic part of his ideal. It shines bright at his newest venture which opened today, Osteria Oggi.
Everything at Osteria has been designed to cater to a communal way of experiencing food, from the menu to the seating plan. It all just works perfectly. Simon says that the opportunity is there for those to eat a separate meal should they choose, but he, “likes to put people in an environment that encourages conversation and sharing.” Well Osteria is most certainly that. With its long communal style dining tables creating the perfect setting to share the amazing dishes on the menu.
Fifteen pastas…. We will just wait a second for you to take that all in. Yes, fifteen pastas will feature on the menu because, as Simon says, this essentially was pitched as a ‘Pasta Bar’. So pasta we shall get! Along with the pasta will come antipasto such as cold meats, carpaccio and other small dishes, four to five larger dishes and, of course, dessert.
The kitchen will be focussing on food that isn’t necessarily traditionally Italian or from a certain region, but rather on their modern take of traditional dishes. For example, their meat ragu will be served with shaved bone marrow, and forget your average carbonara, theirs is made using whole egg yolk and black sausage instead of bacon. Mouths officially watering.
With everything from the pasta to the bread made fresh on site, you can rest assured that although they are mixing up the norm a little bit, the essential focus on serving amazing food will absolutely remain key. Think modern but not ‘chefy’, still rustic and wholesome and ‘mangia mangia mangia’.
Having basically been born into the restaurant industry, it seems that Simon has got the whole thing pretty well down to a tee (we think so anyway). Did we mention that his Grandfather actually opened Adelaide’s first restaurant, Little Amsterdam, in Gay’s Arcade. What a legacy. And basically proof that this whole thing is just in his blood.
From the age of 16 he worked for caterers and restaurants with the dream of one day owning his own. Well it is safe to say he succeeded at making that dream happen, and then some! It is also nice to note that Simon has helped lots of Adelaideans see their restaurant owning dreams come true. Simon has 40 employees and 18 working partners split differently across his restaurants. Giving shares to those who work within the restaurant has seen them have the opportunity to own a business without too much capital.
“This is a transient industry so it is important to keep the best that the industry has around you…
I have found that allowing those who work with me to have a part in the actual restaurant means that they take more pride and diligence when it comes to the way they work.”
In saying all of this, Simon assured us that he could not run the successful number of restaurants that he does today without the peace of mind that the people he has working with him are the best of the best. It has also meant that he can focus on continuing to find those niches that haven’t yet been explored in Adelaide and make them happen. Hello, Osteria Oggi.
After finding the somewhat dilapidated building that once housed a health fund, Simon got to work on transforming the empty shell into the stunning space that now exists. Another point that Simon made was that, as with all of his restaurants, he focusses on perfecting an amazing fit out because apart from fantastic food and service, he wants guests to have a dining experience in a world class space.
Two huge ticks for Simon – the natural light and the raised area of the space. They worked perfectly with his vision. A kitchen on the stage, just as it should be. And the natural light to make you feel like you are outside, dining in a Piazza in Italy. Along with the sleek curves of the ceiling, the marble bar and the ridiculous attention to detail, that 1950s, sleek and sexy look has most certainly been mastered.
The name, Osteria Oggi, sums up everything that the restaurant will be offering. But more than that, it sums up Simon and what he is all about. ‘Osteria’ meaning casual eatery. ‘Oggi’ meaning today (in the sense of new/modern). Simon has a natural ability to create restaurant perfection and Osteria Oggi most certainly continues to prove this point.
76 Pirie Street
Adelaide | 5000
(08) 8359 2525