May 17, 2022


Free For All Food

Lucio’s Italian Restaurant in Sydney is closing following 38 a long time serving Australia’s fantastic artists

Following 38 many years of company, there are just some factors restaurateur Lucio Galletto are not able to let go.

He is trying to keep only a few artworks from among the his eminent selection, which will be auctioned in March.

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

In advance of the cafe opens, he walks via his Paddington establishment with a warm pan wafting the scent of burnt garlic infused with oil.

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

“It is incredibly distinctive.

“Also the aroma of the garlic, by the time men and women come in, it truly is incredibly inviting.”

A sell-out last night time

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

When the business announced the closing date in Oct, it was booked out within just 4 hours.

The cafe was proven in Balmain in 1981 right before relocating to Paddington two a long time later on.

Considering that then, the family members-operate company has hosted patrons from throughout the artwork planet — John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Elisabeth Cummings, Michael Johnson, Salvatore Zofrea, Euan Macleod, Sidney Nolan and several much 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-began Lucio’s well known gallery of operates that adorn the walls within the cafe, and the pavement and tree outdoors.

“He spent a fortune framing it in gold leaf, which I was furious about and I however am,” his spouse, Sally Galleto, said.

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

“I assume they saw how I took treatment of [the Nolan sketch]. Immediately after that they arrived in and asked ‘can I hold my art on your wall?’

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

Lucio’s meals, artwork and friendship auction

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

A lucky consumer could also get residence ‘The Sacred Fish’ by Imants Tillers, which arrives with small flecks of tomato sauce, courtesy of the patrons who have sat at the desk down below the do the job since 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 extra 10 for each cent off!”.

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

“The array of operates is extraordinary,” Ms Schriever explained.

“Numerous of the operates are about distinct encounters and specific situations this sort of as the Garry Shead will work that are all about banquets and feasts and feature both Garry and Lucio.”

It is envisioned the assortment will full somewhere in between $700,000 and $1,000,000, she stated.

Of all artworks hanging about the partitions, there are only a handful of Lucio is holding for himself.

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

“I couldn’t market it, it is as well distinctive for me, so I’m likely to retain it in my residence when we near,” Lucio reported.

“Due to the fact he did it for me, to rejoice a thing I’ve been accomplishing for yrs. That’s the special factor.”

He would also love to preserve Fred Cress’ painting, titled Lucio’s Foods, featuring the palms of artists sharing a feast, but he thinks it may “be much too massive” for the condominium he life in.

‘He loves the people’

Lucio was raised in the earth of dining establishments and art.

His loved ones owned a restaurant in the smaller Italian seaside town in the province of Liguria and his cousin also runs a cafe and an art gallery.

“It was like I was born in a cafe,” Lucio explained.

“We put in extra time becoming in the cafe than at household.

“We had our minor corner in the cafe in which we did our research, watched tv.”

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

“We went to Paris to see if we were compatible to get married,” Lucio reported with a chortle.

“We were preventing daily so we explained ‘yes, we are all set to get married!'”

Lucio’s 1st career in Sydney in 1977 was at Natalino’s Restaurant in Kings Cross.

Even though he enjoys food items and loves to prepare dinner (even though “he can make a mess” in accordance to Sally), it was the front-of-household duties that saved Lucio in the small business.

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

“He enjoys chatting to persons, generating folks pleased.”

Sally joined the small business in 1997 just after a job in promotion, when their two little ones Matteo and Michela skilled in hospitality and now also do the job for the restaurant.

‘We comply with the season’

Lucio’s has only experienced 5 head cooks in its life span, and most experienced the apprentices that then took over the position.

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

The slow turnover of staff members intended the type of the foodstuff hardly modified and mirrored Lucio’s motto: “We stick to the season, not the manner”.

“You can find a dish currently on the menu — burrata with tomato,” Mr Kohler told ABC Sydney.

“We use basil and I have manufactured that into a gel and we inject that into the burrata to make a wow issue.

“[The kitchen] It is like a shoebox.

“But for a two-hatted institution … it is really amazing the food we can deliver and get out to the buyers at these types of a high standard.”

Until the up coming venture

Lucio’s might be closing but it is in no way a mark of retirement for the Galletto household.

Their next enterprise, though not nevertheless confirmed, will be spearheaded by Matteo and Michela.

“Ideally we’ll do some thing else with our young children but it will be a little something they experience about it, result in [Lucio’s] was Sally and I,” Lucio reported.

“What I will overlook, and I hope not for prolonged simply because I hope to do anything else, is that I will miss out on people today.

“I will miss my staff members, miss out on observing the food being organized, the organisation of the kitchen area, the staff in the kitchen doing work so very well collectively, but definitely the dining area.

“The eating area is wherever I truly feel at house — earning positive that people are having a superior time.

“I will miss not remaining portion of their conviviality anymore.”