Olio, St Leonards

25 July 2010
by Phuoc

One of the best things about the end of the working week is the beginning of the weekends. Ever since I have been back from my holidays, I have been working full time in a lab that has varied work hours. It is not a typical Mon-Fri, 9-5pm job. I am lucky that I don’t have to come in on the weekends (yet)  but my hours of work are dependent on the experiments I do. It has been a long couple of weeks but it felt great to be able to finally relax and start the weekend with delicious food.

Olio is located in The Forum of St Leonards station. Prior to Ant and I arriving at the restaurant, I had read on Twitter that there was going to be latino and jazz music played by a live band. Cool! Now that’s a way to really set the relaxing mood ready for the weekend. However, when we got there the band was no where in sight. Bummer.. Something must have happened because when fellow food blogger Leona dined here she said there was a live band playing. Oh well, maybe next time.

Pilsner beer and Lemon Meringue Pie cocktail

So to kick start the weekend, I decided to order the Lemon Meringue Pie cocktail. It was definitely something I needed. The cocktail had a similar creamy taste to Baileys but the addition of limoncello (an italian lemon liqueur) made this concoction taste like the actual dessert without it being too tangy.

Mixed Bruschetta ($8)

We had some mixed bruschetta to start off with. I particularly liked the grilled mushroom and parmesan bruschetta as the mushrooms were plump and flavoursome. The tomato and mozzarella bruschetta featured a few pieces of anchovies which were nice but not too salty.

Cream of mushroom soup ($14)

It was extremely cold outside so I settled for a big bowl of cream of mushroom soup with sour cream and truffle oil. When the bowl was placed down on my table I could immediately smell the wonderful earthy aromas of the truffle oil. YUM! What can I say? I love mushrooms, so you could guess that this was a hit with me. The soup was full of flavour and wasn’t heavy at all. I loved having the grilled sourdough to soak up this delicious soup. Definitely something perfect for the cold Sydney weather we’ve been having lately.

Crispy pork hock and scallop salad ($13.50)

Ant chose something light to start with and went for the crispy pork hock with seared scallops, fennel, rocket & ruby grapefruit salad.  There was a nice vinaigrette drizzled over the salad to help cut through the crispy pork. The scallops were cooked to perfection and the pork was nicely seasoned. It was a very interesting salad, who would have thought that fennel and grapefruit would work together with pork and scallops?

Northern Rivers veal cutlet ($28)

For my mains I ordered the veal cutlet served with roasted sweet potato, broccolini and red wine butter and it was cooked to medium. The cutlet was really tender and juicy. The vegetables were cooked well and were a nice accompaniment to the entire dish. The red wine jus and red wine butter tied all these components up well. Crispy strips of sweet potato topped the dish and provided a nice crunch. Overall, this is good comfort food.

Duck sausages ($28)

It may not seem like much but Ant’s dish of house-made duck, orange & cognac sausages with duy puy lentils, cabbage & pancetta was filling. The sausages were very flavoursome and I love the fact that the duck has been paired with oranges. A must try dish!

Chocolate fondant with poached pears ($12)

One of Ant’s favourite desserts is chocolate fondant, just about wherever we go, if it’s on the menu he’ll order it. Tonight was no exception. The chocolate fondant was served with poached pear and brandy anglaise. It was slightly gooey in the centre; perhaps if taken out a couple of minutes earlier, the flow of chocolate lava would have oozed out more. But regardless, it was light and was nicely paired with the brandy anglaise which was velvety and not so boozy. The pears could have been poached a little longer as they were still a little too firm.

Kopi Luwak ($9)

The first time I’ve heard of Kopi Luwak was from the movie The Bucket List. I never thought of anything more after that nor did I think of being able to try it since it is deemed the most expensive ($1400/kilo) and rare coffee in the world. So when I discovered that Olio serves Kopi Luwak I decided to give it a go. What is Kopi Luwak? For those who don’t know, Kopi Luwak is made from coffee beans of the sweetest and ripest coffee berries that have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet. Only the flesh of the berry is digested, leaving the beans to pass through the civet’s intestinal tract undigested; which are then harvested and thoroughly cleaned before they are lightly roasted and brewed for consumption. It is believed that the digestive enzymes found in the civet break down the proteins that is responsible for producing the bitterness associated with coffee, leaving a smooth-tasting coffee with minimal bitterness.

Prior to tonight’s dinner, I told Ant that I was going to try this coffee and our conversation went something like this “Eww… It’s coffee from the excretion of a civet!”, “Yeah and..? I’m sure it’s clean. Are you going to try it?”, “No…” Fast forward back to our dinner and as I’m ordering my coffee Ant decides to get one too. So much for not wanting to try it.

We were presented with a tile for the Kopi Luwak. The waitress informs him that he has to drink the lime mineral water to cleanse the palate before drinking the coffee. A ginger cookie and raw sugar cube accompanies the coffee. We both noticed that the amount given to us did not look like the one advertised on the pamphlet on our table (which was full to the rim); but my guess was that the coffee was made into a piccolo latte for that picture. So how was the coffee? It was nice; it had a lovely aroma and wasn’t too bitter which is great as I don’t like coffee that is too bitter.

Kopi Luwak affogato ($22)

During the day I found out on Twitter that Olio was serving the Kopi Luwak as an affogato so this was my choice for my coffee to end the night. The affogato was served with creme de cacao (a chocolate liqueur) and vanilla bean gelato. I loved the generous scoop of vanilla gelato that I received and the creme de cacao was a nice addition to compliment the coffee as it was smooth and slightly sweet. It probably seems like a waste to have Kopi Luwak as an affogato as you’d want to appreciate this rare coffee as an espresso but I guess everyone has their coffee differently (I was informed that you could request it with milk if you like).

We both had a lovely night at Olio. The staff was attentive and friendly however if I was to pick on something, the first waitress we had made it appear as if it was her first day on the job. Having worked in the hospitality industry for about 6 years now, I tend to ask customers how their meals are about 5 minutes after I’ve placed their food down (this way they have had a chance to eat the dish and leaves enough time for them to bring up issues if there was anything wrong with the dish so we could attend to it). She pretty much asked straight after we’ve taken the first bite of each meal (not like there was something to complain about the food anyway) but it was just something I picked up on. Also, after each course she took away our serviettes and replaced it with new ones each time; it wasn’t like they were dirty. I just wonder how many serviettes they must go through a night if all the wait staff did this.

Phuoc and Anthony dined as guest at Olio, thanks to Nicholas Aspros and Wasamedia.

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  1. john@heneedsfood

    Lemon meringue pie cocktail, sounds very decadent. The food looks really good and the combination of fennel and grapefruit sounds nice. I’m yet to try kopi luwak and would prefer it served in a regular way such as macchiatto or flat white rather than the dessert ceremony. Do they serve it straight up as a regular coffee?

  2. thang @ noodlies.com

    Phuoc, I work around the corner, let’s do coffee… Maybe not this coffee.

  3. Mark @ Cafe Campana

    The civet cat strikes again. The more of the Kopi Luwak I hear the more I want it. I am a total sucker for duck too, if I see it on the menu I just have to eat it. This looks good.

  4. mademoiselle délicieuse

    I quite enjoyed the kopi luwak when I tried it as well. No affogatto on the menu then but it looks like they’re very generous with the ice-cream! YUM.

  5. Anita

    Hahaha, I also choose the chocolate fondant wherever I go… 😛

  6. Ellie (Almost Bourdain)

    I keep hearing good reviews from this place. Must get there soon to try out thier $9 kopi luwak!~

  7. Phuoc

    John: I love it when someone takes inspiration of a classic dessert and brings new life to it. I don’t see the problem of having the kopi luwak as a cappucino/flat white etc – although it might defeat the purpose of appreciating this rare coffee as an epresso. You know, they have an organic coffee blend if you don’t want the kopi luwak.

    Thang & Mark: You gotta try the coffee 🙂

    Mademoiselle: Yeah I don’t really like it how other premises offer a tiny scoop of ice cream

    Anita: Where’s the best place you’ve had it?

    Ellie: $9 is pretty good value for Kopi Luwak, I know there’s another place nearby that sells them for $50 a cup!

  8. angie

    Oooo lemon meringue pie cocktail?? I’ve gotta try this! The food all looks so good. Ryan being the coffee lover between us was curious when I told him about the cat poo coffee, who knows we might find ourselves at Olio sometime soon.

  9. Dolly

    the mushroom soup looks devine.

    Nice bumping into u at GFW show hahaa…

    tC darl


  10. Phuoc

    Angie: Do it! It may be a bit of a trek pass the bridge but it’s worth it.

    Dolly: Soup during winter is always good 🙂

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