October 19, 2021

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Simply The Best Food

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

After 38 many years of provider, there are just some points restaurateur Lucio Galletto are unable to let go.

He is maintaining only a couple artworks from between his eminent selection, which will be auctioned in March.

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

Just before the restaurant opens, he walks by way of his Paddington establishment with a hot pan wafting the scent of burnt garlic infused with oil.

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

“It is really extremely special.

“Also the aroma of the garlic, by the time individuals arrive in, it is really incredibly inviting.”

A sell-out ultimate night

Lucio’s Italian Cafe will welcome its previous buyers on Saturday.

When the business enterprise introduced the closing day in Oct, it was booked out inside of four hours.

The restaurant was proven in Balmain in 1981 right before relocating to Paddington two several years later on.

Considering that then, the household-operate business has hosted patrons from throughout the artwork earth — John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Elisabeth Cummings, Michael Johnson, Salvatore Zofrea, Euan Macleod, Sidney Nolan and several more.

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

It was Nolan’s sketch of Ned Kelly on the again of a docket that kick-started Lucio’s well known gallery of functions that adorn the walls within the restaurant, and the pavement and tree outside.

“He invested a fortune framing it in gold leaf, which I was furious about and I nevertheless am,” his wife, Sally Galleto, said.

To Lucio, the artists are “la famiglia” — family members.

“I imagine they saw how I took treatment of [the Nolan sketch]. Soon after that they came in and questioned ‘can I dangle my art on your wall?’

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

Lucio’s food stuff, artwork and friendship auction

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

A lucky purchaser could also take household ‘The Sacred Fish’ by Imants Tillers, which comes with compact flecks of tomato sauce, courtesy of the patrons who have sat at the table beneath the operate due to the fact 2016.

Lucio assures us that the sauce can be wiped off the paint oils, in any other case, he joked, the customer “can get an excess 10 for every cent off!”.

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

“The selection of will work is remarkable,” Ms Schriever stated.

“Many of the is effective are about certain activities and exclusive situations these as the Garry Shead is effective that are all about banquets and feasts and feature each Garry and Lucio.”

It is envisioned the selection will complete somewhere amongst $700,000 and $1,000,000, she reported.

Of all artworks hanging all-around the partitions, there are only a handful of Lucio is keeping for himself.

Colin Lanceley’s Blue Swimmer Crab — a combined media get the job done that compensated homage to the restaurant’s pasta dish, tagliolini alla granseola, is a single of Lucio’s favourites.

“I couldn’t sell it, it is really far too exclusive for me, so I am going to maintain it in my household when we shut,” Lucio claimed.

“Simply because he did it for me, to rejoice some thing I have been carrying out for years. That is the unique thing.”

He would also really like to hold Fred Cress’ painting, titled Lucio’s Food, that includes the fingers of artists sharing a feast, but he thinks it could “be as well major” for the apartment he lives in.

‘He loves the people’

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

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

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

“We expended extra time becoming in the restaurant than at household.

“We had our tiny corner in the restaurant the place we did our homework, viewed television.”

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

“We went to Paris to see if we have been compatible to get married,” Lucio claimed with a chortle.

“We have been battling each day so we said ‘yes, we are completely ready to get married!'”

Lucio’s initial work in Sydney in 1977 was at Natalino’s Cafe in Kings Cross.

When he loves food stuff and enjoys to cook dinner (even though “he will make a mess” according to Sally), it was the entrance-of-dwelling responsibilities that held Lucio in the business.

“His forte is with the persons,” Sally said.

“He loves chatting to men and women, creating folks pleased.”

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

‘We stick to the season’

Lucio’s has only had 5 head cooks in its life time, and most experienced the apprentices that then took in excess of the job.

George Kohler has been the restaurant’s head chef for the past three many years, and was educated by his predecessor Logan Campbell, who was in Lucio’s kitchen for 12 many years.

The sluggish turnover of personnel intended the fashion of the foods barely transformed and mirrored Lucio’s motto: “We comply with the time, not the style”.

“There is certainly a dish presently on the menu — burrata with tomato,” Mr Kohler explained to ABC Sydney.

“We use basil and I have produced that into a gel and we inject that into the burrata to build a wow element.

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

“But for a two-hatted establishment … it truly is incredible the foodstuff we can generate and get out to the prospects at these a superior regular.”

Till the following undertaking

Lucio’s may well be closing but it is in no way a mark of retirement for the Galletto family members.

Their following venture, even though not yet verified, will be spearheaded by Matteo and Michela.

“Ideally we will do some thing else with our children but it will be a little something they truly feel about it, trigger [Lucio’s] was Sally and I,” Lucio explained.

“What I will overlook, and I hope not for long because I hope to do one thing else, is that I will skip folks.

“I will skip my team, pass up seeing the foods remaining well prepared, the organisation of the kitchen, the workforce in the kitchen area functioning so perfectly together, but certainly the dining space.

“The dining place is where by I experience at property — creating sure that individuals are acquiring a good time.

“I will skip not becoming aspect of their conviviality any longer.”