While food options in the Outback were pretty limited, I did find a decent lunch in Darwin. With Adelaide, my hopes were set higher: could I find a good Italian and maybe some of Adelaide’s famous hipster brunches?
Osteria Oggi was first up on deck in the Italian stakes and reviews looked good, hovering around 4.6+. It had won an international award for its interior and numerous foodie awards. Sounded good.
The interior is an impressively presented symphony of polished concrete and wood, designed with no sound absorption so that there is a constant cacophony. I suffer very slightly from situational or frequency deafness, where it’s hard to distinguish ‘near’ voices when the background is at a singular pitch. It’s that loud in here.
The host/hostess station is well inside the room, a tight squeeze down a corridor between single and couple diners at a long bar with high stools and a couple of tiny tables along the corridor wall. While you’re enjoying your snack or glass of wine, you may well have a long string of people waiting to be seated, while staff push past with ceramic dishes of pasta held aloft, everyone slightly pushing everyone else: seated, standing, serving. It makes for a tense meal!
It took a long time for my order (and that of my neighbours on either side) to be taken. The mixologist (cocktail maker) gave in eventually and wrote up our orders. After 20 minutes or so, some very chewy bread with olive oil appeared. Nice but heavy.
I chose a decent McLaren Vale (lighter) Shiraz as my glass of the day and a sausage pasta with fennel. The wine was a little bitter and the pasta was excellent. Heavy, but I like that in pasta.
Since starters had been avoided, a desert cried out my name! This was a deconstructed/reconstructed tiramisu. I love the uncomplicated, ‘normal’ version, particularly if it’s drenched in coffee liqueur!
This was a cake base (which tasted stale – not good), with a crisp chocolate crunch layer (too hard to cut with a spoon) and a semi-freddo on top that was just unpleasant. Those who know me will be shocked that I did not eat this!
The verdict: it’s good enough for pasta that I returned with a friend for lunch, but it staggers me that it won an architectural award if that award considered function and comfort as criteria for judgment. Good, but not great.