For those who love to eat in this city there’s one man’s praises you should be singing: Simon Kardachi. You may not know the name, but you’ve probably eaten at one of his many incredible restaurants; Press*, Melt, Proof, Bread and Bone, Maybe Mae and many more are all under his belt, proving that everything he touches turns to gold. So prepare your stomachs and get your stretchy pants ready because his new project Osteria Oggi has officially opened its doors, and Glam got a sneaky behind the scenes taster.
When we arrived at the new spot on Pirie St we had to do a double take to make sure we were in the right place. The floor to ceiling glass doorway is covered up with newspaper and is rather unassuming to the passers by (so don’t worry if you haven’t noticed it on your outings). This of course is to ensure the utmost secrecy before the grand reveal of the newest dining hot spot.
Upon entering the restaurant we found ourselves surprised at how a place nestled in an inner city block could feel so light, airy and spacious. As you walk down past the full length marble bar, (perfect for a quick lunch break stop) towards the back of the restaurant the venue opens up into high ceilings and long communal dining style tables, surrounded by intimate booth seating if you’re after a little extra privacy.
We mingled for some time and then found seats ready to submerge ourselves in the Osteria Oggi philosophy, which is an eloquent way of saying: swim in bowls of freshly cooked pasta. Our expectations were more than exceeded when dish after dish of simple, flavourful Italian delights were brought out by enthusiastic and (shock) genuinely Italian staff.
Now before you get your hearts set on the delectable dishes Glam was privileged to taste, the menu is not yet set in stone. However let us give you a rundown of just a select few of our favourite contenders from the extensive selection served up on the day.
First up was swordfish ceviche served with zesty pink grapefruit and dill. A delightfully light opener that was super refreshing. Next was beef carpaccio drizzled with aioli and sprinkled with fresh rocket and parmesan. Again a fabulous starter, so simple yet packed with flavour. We sense from the giant retro meat slicer, taking pride of place next to the kitchen, that high end charcuterie will be a staple on the menu.
We’re hoping this next one makes the final cut too. Cotechino is a fun Italian braised pig cheek sausage served up with lentils and a herby salsa verde. We’re told this dish is traditionally served on New Year’s Eve and is said to bring luck and money to all those who eat it. A stack of cash hasn’t fallen from the sky into the Glam office just yet, but we’ll be to keep eating this dish in hope that it does.
We know we’re heading into spring but the next dish was all about that winter comfort. Polenta served with balsamic vinegar and truffled mushrooms topped with an egg that was poached to perfection. When you break the egg and stir the gooey yolk through the polenta you create a thick, rich indulgent dish that would pair perfectly with some slow cooked meat and a very big glass of red.
And then came the game changers: the pasta dishes. Put the gluggy carbonaras of the past to the side, because the bar has well and truly been lifted at Osteria Oggi. We tried tagliatelle with a bone marrow ragu; chicken, pig and rabbit ravioli with a burnt sage butter sauce; and riccioli pasta with chilli, eel and peas. Now for those who don’t like to stray far from the ordinary these dishes may seem a bit too risque in comparison to a good old fashioned spag bol. But let us assure you, each dish had incredible flavours and textures that when combined, created some truly perfect pasta dishes.
As if they thought we could squeeze in anymore, out came the slow roasted lamb with a medley of simple seasonal vegetables. The meat was cooked to perfection, succulent and just fell apart. The sort of roast that would put your mothers to shame (sorry Mum)!
The vibe at Osteria Oggi is a welcoming and inviting family style dining experience that’s just the right blend of high end and homely. Come, mingle, eat, chat, eat some more, have a wine, chat some more, nibble, wash it down with some more wine. The restaurant opens at 11.30am and the kitchen doesn’t close until the front doors do. This idea is so reflective of how we want to eat. Often our lives don’t run on a 12-2.30, one hour lunch break kinda schedule (although if that’s your situation they can easily cater to your needs!) so it’s great to see venues taking this on board. Osteria Oggi is the perfect inner city venue for a long lunch, that turns into drinks, that turns into dinner, that turns into more drinks.
In true a communal, Italian dining fashion our lunch ran for several hours, which were filled with impeccable food, wonderful service and so much laughter. We were so full we didn’t even manage to squeeze in dessert! When those doors open come-mid September however, we’ll certainly be back to experience the undoubtedly incredible sweet treats on the menu.
If you love trying out new dining experiences that stray from the norm we couldn’t recommend Osteria Oggi enough, especially if you’re a pasta fiend. Simon has achieved greatness yet again with another superb venue to add to his culinary kingdom.
For a list of everything you need to try in Adelaide this month head to our ‘The Adelaide September To Do List’.