Opening a restaurant during a pandemic. It looks like possibly the craziest idea ever, indeed someone is doing it. That “someone” is Leonardo De Paoli, 15 years astonishing experience in Michelin stars restaurants, last but not least with Ilario Mosconi, at his restaurant in Grund. Leonardo is launching this week-end his first restaurant, “Oio – Osteria con Cucina“, located down the Rives de Clausen, overlooking the Alzette, where the former “La Biblioteca” had a short life despite the picturesque scenery.
We met Leonardo on the eve of the launch of “Oio” street food week-end, visibly excited, a bit tired, but never loosing his smile. Leonardo told us that the plan was to put to sea “Oio” with the anticipated opening in March and that the further stop of Horesca didn’t discourage his team. They decided to go ahead proposing a double format of take-away for the week-end of March 5th (Friday to Sunday, from 12 pm to 6 pm) in order to start welcoming the first clients as well as take advantage of the good weather. We said double format as you will have two possibilities: you can pick up some street food (savory and sweet) and eat it around – likely on the bridge or the walk on the river. If you are not much adventurous, Oio proposes as well a meal kit which can be refreshed at home and you can as well pre-order online. Kit will be provided together with detailed instructions and link of videos to prepare them at home.
But what about Oio? What should we expect from this restaurant? Did we really need another Italian restaurant in Luxembourg city?
Leonardo replied to all our questions. The name “Oio“, literally, means oil in dialect, but its real substance stays in the idea behind: “Oio“, as the last trickle of olive oil to complete a dish, like a dash of oil and its lightness.
Leonardo describes his cuisine as tasty and easily recognizable, created starting from outstanding quality of material, worked as less as possible. The menu of Oio will be the same for lunch and dinner, without tasting menu and without the classic amuse-bouche from the chef, but with a price accessible to everyone – the kind of place you can come for lunch and in the same day also for dinner. The idea is to have a menu which will change continuously, based on seasonal products – Leonardo will work, for example, with Le Panier de Sandrine with seasonal vegetables which will be used to create the menu – rather than ordering raw materials starting from a pre-packaged menu.
Leonardo wants to create a direct connection with the client, who will be able then to check daily the dishes offered on their Instagram page. The menu card will be short but focused on quality as well as for beverage: a reduced Italian wine list, with prices in a range from 35 to 95 Eur, including some niche local wines. A bar cocktail card based on 5 / 6 cocktails – revisited: a Negroni with rhubarbs, a cocktail with olive oil, a cocktail with thym… Cocktails will be also available for take-away this week-end.
We asked Leonardo which is the target of his restaurant. He said Oio will welcome everyone but will definitely give a nod to people who are tired of the usual Italian restaurants in Luxembourg and to those who wants to feel on a vacation in Italy even at home in Luxembourg.
To complete the lovely dining room, minimal, elegant, warm and bright, the restaurant has a unique view on the river, where the idea is to have clients taking advantage not only of the dining option, but as well as of a “aperitivo” – sharing few apero dishes with a cocktail or a bottle or wine, without the need to go for the full meal choice.
Lastly, at the floor, a huge tasting room will welcome Italian cooking classes held by Leonardo.
Finally, we asked Leonardo which will be his signature dish. He replied that two dishes will mainly represent his style among the others: the “pappa al pomodoro”, prepared with fresh burrata and olive oil, and the “tortelli di ossobuco”, served with a parmesan fondue and a saffron sauce. Few ingredients, worked as less as possible, for an unpretentious modern Italian cuisine which is not much represented in Luxembourg.
We look forward to try “Oio” as soon as it will be open for dining, but for the moment, we recommend you to visit their street food stand this week-end, from Friday to Sunday, 12 pm to 6 pm.