Nestled in the gastronomic desert of Oporto, the arches and Indian Tucker, this warm brown part-bistro, part-trattoria is well placed for folk exiting St. Leonards Station.
Their wine list really kicks goals, with a Central Otago Mt. Difficulty Riesling ($10/glass) impressing the most.
A generous bowl of Cauliflower, Leek and Prosciutto Soup ($15) is an antidote to the cold; it’s accompanied by thick, grill-kissed sourdough and dominated slightly by truffle oil.
Even better is the Crispy Pork Hock ($13.50), which sets a trio of tasty, salty, fatty squares of pig against shaved fennel, radicchio, ruby grapefruit and seared scallops.
A well priced main of House-Made Potato Gnocchi ($19) with sautéed exotic mushrooms, spinach and Grana Padano was favoursome but spent a moment too long in the pot.
An impressive-looking bowl of Olio Mediterranean Seafood Stew ($29) with Silver Dory, prawn, scallop, mussels and calamari made me long for amped heat – I like punishment though. This is always a tough dish to pull off perfectly - the mussels were quite tiny (and thus overcooked) and the prawn a little floury. The Silver Dory however was cooked perfectly.
Walnuts shone in a welcome salad of Rocket, Pear and Walnut ($7) - they were the nicest walnuts I've had in ages.
But the real lure here is the rare Kopi Luwak ($9) coffee. It’s made from beans er... extracted from Asian Palm Civet droppings, then washed and very lightly roasted. It’s a smooth brew with a long and satisfying palate length. Personally I found it interesting to try, but won't be swapping from my current favourite (The Little Marionette) any time soon.
Olio Mediterranean Brasserie
The Forum, 201-205 Pacific Hwy, St. Leonards
Ph: (02) 9439 8988