Callum Hann and Themis Chryssidis open their new Pirie Street restaurant Olive this Friday, and diners can expect a fun take on Mediterranean cuisine.
Olive aims to be pick of Med crop
Walking into Olive, the first thing CityMag notices is the light and brightness.
Shades of cream, coral and olive (literally) coat the table tops and paint the textured restaurant. A large green terrazzo table centres the opening space, while a rustic wooden trellis hugs the ceiling.
4/86 Pirie Street, Adelaide 5000
Mon—Sat: 11:30am ’til late
Fast forward a month and a bit, and Olive is here — set to open this Friday.
“I can’t wait to open and then we can chill a little bit,” Themis laughs.
“Opening’s the easy part — doing what we do, which is cook and serve and drink and eat and have fun with people.
“Once you get to that point, the job is done.”
Callum and Themis say the vibe of Olive is a casual, relaxed dining experience, suited for a daytime knock off meal or sophisticated dinner.
“It’s a fun place to come and sit down, but eat good food still,” Themis says.
“Food that’s not overly intimidating or challenging but that still challenges your taste buds — we want you to have a little party in your mouth every time you come.”
Like many Mediterranean restaurants popping up around Adelaide, the menu will be somewhat seasonal. But Callum and Themis have assured this will only mean new additions, not complete menu revamps.
“Knowing this is vegetable forward, inherently it kind of has to change as the seasons change,” Callum says.
“The way that we like to do it isn’t necessarily throw a line in the sand, old menu goes in the bin, completely start a new one tomorrow — it will be evolving over time.
“So, every few weeks there’ll be additional food that goes on and a dish or two that comes off.”
The menu will always have a mix of snacks, small items and larger dishes as Callum says “everything we’ve done is designed to share”.
“Olive is about not just the food specifically, but a way of eating,” Callum elaborates.
“We’ve got our focaccia with a brown butter hummus, we’ve got little Padrón peppers, we’ve got zucchini fires, we’ve got little kofta.”
The pair say Olive’s food from the full stretch of the Med, but with a fun, modern twist.
“So there’s things like pastitsio which is effectively a Greek pasta bake… it’s basically got a pork ragu and a big layer of Béchamel sauce. It’s cooked in a really hot oven [and] it’s blowtorched,” Themis says.
“We’ve got cannoli, for example, that are filled with Nutella and ricotta, so again a bit of a play on that [modern aspect] too.
“We’ve got things like even baklava but done in the form of an ice cream sandwich.”
Other items on the Olive menu are a spiced eggplant with pomegranate, a slow roast lamb shoulder, and a rainbow trout that Callum says is “simple – but my goodness it’s delicious”.
As the duo enthuse over the food they’ll soon be serving, CityMag asks exactly how collaborative creating a menu for a new restaurant is.
“I think probably a misconception, and the photo that you’re about to take will no doubt further enhance that misconception because I’m wearing the chef’s jacket and [Themis is] wearing civilian clothes, is [that] it is very much collaborative,” Callum says.
“We will start off on a big whiteboard. We’ll go through and we’ll try to understand the vibe we’re trying to create [and] we’ll understand who we’re trying to entice to come to the venue,” Themis elaborates.
“Then ultimately, that conversation continues for about three months — we’re sending each other messages [and] pictures.”
The wine and alcohol offering, like the venue, will be fun, with the wine list divided in half equally into local and international producers.
“We wanted varieties of wines, and styles of wines that you may not have tried before from regions you didn’t even know grew grapes,” Themis says.
“We know that it’s going to be challenging for some people [but] the a list is written in a way that is designed to help you understand what you’re drinking still.”
Olive is located at 4/86 Pirie Street and is open from 11:30am until late.