April 21, 2021


Simply The Best Food

Lucio’s Italian Cafe in Sydney is closing immediately after 38 a long time serving Australia’s wonderful artists

Following 38 several years of assistance, there are just some matters restaurateur Lucio Galletto are unable to let go.

He is maintaining only a handful of artworks from among the his eminent selection, which will be auctioned in March.

But there are also the rituals relationship again to his childhood.

Before the restaurant opens, he walks as a result of his Paddington establishment with a very hot pan wafting the scent of burnt garlic infused with oil.

“To preserve evil spirits out of the restaurant,” Lucio stated.

“It truly is pretty particular.

“Also the aroma of the garlic, by the time persons occur in, it is really inviting.”

A offer-out remaining evening

Lucio’s Italian Restaurant will welcome its very last customers on Saturday.

When the company introduced the closing date in October, it was booked out in just 4 several hours.

The cafe was proven in Balmain in 1981 just before going to Paddington two decades later.

Because then, the relatives-run enterprise has hosted patrons from throughout the art globe — John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Elisabeth Cummings, Michael Johnson, Salvatore Zofrea, Euan Macleod, Sidney Nolan and many more.

There have also been superstars — Al Pacino, Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari and the late George Harrison, with Lucio remembering offending his “hero” when he asked the Beatles star for an autograph.

It was Nolan’s sketch of Ned Kelly on the back of a docket that kick-begun Lucio’s well-known gallery of is effective that adorn the walls inside the cafe, and the pavement and tree outside.

“He put in a fortune framing it in gold leaf, which I was furious about and I nonetheless am,” his spouse, Sally Galleto, mentioned.

To Lucio, the artists are “la famiglia” — loved ones.

“I believe they saw how I took care of [the Nolan sketch]. Soon after that they arrived in and requested ‘can I dangle my artwork on your wall?’

“And they say to me, ‘Artists could possibly not like each individual other but they all like Lucio’s.'”

Lucio’s meals, art and friendship auction

A complete of 200 of Lucio’s artworks will be auctioned by Bonhams Australia on March 21 which includes paintings, sculptures and sketches some of which have been drawn on menus and on the napery.

A blessed consumer could also get home ‘The Sacred Fish’ by Imants Tillers, which comes with compact flecks of tomato sauce, courtesy of the patrons who have sat at the table underneath the perform because 2016.

Lucio assures us that the sauce can be wiped off the paint oils, normally, he joked, the customer “can get an further 10 for each cent off!”.

Bonhams director Merryn Schriever claimed the assortment was a snapshot of the Australian art planet from the 1980s.

“The assortment of performs is extraordinary,” Ms Schriever mentioned.

“Numerous of the performs are about particular activities and special events these kinds of as the Garry Shead functions that are all about banquets and feasts and attribute equally Garry and Lucio.”

It is anticipated the selection will overall someplace between $700,000 and $1,000,000, she stated.

Of all artworks hanging all around the walls, there are only a couple of Lucio is keeping for himself.

Colin Lanceley’s Blue Swimmer Crab — a blended media operate that paid out homage to the restaurant’s pasta dish, tagliolini alla granseola, is 1 of Lucio’s favourites.

“I couldn’t sell it, it can be also special for me, so I am likely to keep it in my house when we near,” Lucio claimed.

“Simply because he did it for me, to rejoice a thing I’ve been accomplishing for a long time. That’s the specific thing.”

He would also love to preserve Fred Cress’ painting, titled Lucio’s Food items, showcasing the fingers of artists sharing a feast, but he thinks it could possibly “be as well huge” for the apartment he lives in.

‘He loves the people’

Lucio was raised in the entire world of dining establishments and art.

His family owned a restaurant in the little Italian seaside town in the province of Liguria and his cousin also operates a restaurant and an artwork gallery.

“It was like I was born in a restaurant,” Lucio mentioned.

“We expended much more time remaining in the restaurant than at dwelling.

“We had our minimal corner in the restaurant where by we did our research, viewed television.”

It was there he met his wife Sally, who was checking out her sister, who is married to Lucio’s cousin.

“We went to Paris to see if we were being appropriate to get married,” Lucio mentioned with a chuckle.

“We were being fighting day to day so we stated ‘yes, we are prepared to get married!'”

Lucio’s initial career in Sydney in 1977 was at Natalino’s Restaurant in Kings Cross.

Although he enjoys food and enjoys to cook dinner (despite the fact that “he makes a mess” in accordance to Sally), it was the entrance-of-property obligations that retained Lucio in the small business.

“His forte is with the individuals,” Sally explained.

“He loves chatting to people, creating men and women content.”

Sally joined the business in 1997 after a profession in advertising, though their two little ones Matteo and Michela trained in hospitality and now also work for the restaurant.

‘We observe the season’

Lucio’s has only experienced 5 head cooks in its lifetime, and most trained the apprentices that then took over the part.

George Kohler has been the restaurant’s head chef for the previous a few decades, and was qualified by his predecessor Logan Campbell, who was in Lucio’s kitchen for 12 many years.

The sluggish turnover of staff members intended the fashion of the foodstuff hardly improved and reflected Lucio’s motto: “We follow the time, not the fashion”.

“You will find a dish at this time on the menu — burrata with tomato,” Mr Kohler instructed ABC Sydney.

“We use basil and I have created that into a gel and we inject that into the burrata to produce a wow component.

“[The kitchen] It truly is like a shoebox.

“But for a two-hatted establishment … it truly is amazing the food stuff we can generate and get out to the clients at this sort of a significant conventional.”

Till the following undertaking

Lucio’s could be closing but it is in no way a mark of retirement for the Galletto spouse and children.

Their subsequent undertaking, though not still confirmed, will be spearheaded by Matteo and Michela.

“Hopefully we’ll do a thing else with our little ones but it will be one thing they come to feel about it, induce [Lucio’s] was Sally and I,” Lucio reported.

“What I will miss out on, and I hope not for lengthy because I hope to do one thing else, is that I will pass up men and women.

“I will skip my staff, overlook seeing the meals remaining geared up, the organisation of the kitchen area, the group in the kitchen operating so nicely jointly, but certainly the eating room.

“The dining home is exactly where I feel at property — making confident that persons are acquiring a great time.

“I will overlook not becoming section of their conviviality any longer.”