In Italian slang, if you see someone good looking or something you think is pretty cool then you would deem it fico, and that is certainly the best way to describe this little gem of a restaurant.
You’ll find Fico snuggled on Macquarie Street in the old newsagent. It is a quaint bistro that blurs the lines between fine dining and traditional European bistro-style eating. Owned by Oskar Rossi and Frederica Andrisani, a pair of talented young chefs who share a European heritage and a passion for putting that tradition on a plate.
A Tassie local, Oskar began his career at Vue de Monde and travelled overseas from there to work and learn in kitchens throughout Spain, Italy, Singapore and Copenhagen. It was in Italy that he met Frederica. Originally from Napoli, she has been cooking since she was 18, and can boast stints in a selection of Europe’s best restaurants.
Oskar and Frederica’s food is a bit of a wild mix of French and Italian with just a touch of Japanese fusion. While this may sound like a daunting combination, the food sings and the results speak for themselves. Their menu is serviced by an abundance of local growers and producers including a couple of small boat fisherman, a pigeon supplier and some backyard herb growers.
The dishes that this mix of ingredients go into are just as polished. Frederica and Oskar have injected youth and life back into the classics, cherishing old techniques but maintaining a progressive outlook. Meals at Fico begin with the Apertivi Menu, which boasts dishes such as the Homemade Sourdough, Squid Brioche And Kingfish with soy wasabi and coriander. From here you will move on to the Antipasti Menu dishes such as the Bug Tail Carpaccio. It wouldn’t be Italian without the Primi and Secondi courses, and it is here that the menu truly comes alive.
Pasta takes an exciting turn with Capellini Del Prete Genovese, a modern take on the traditional Genovese served with onion jus, petals and sage, while the larger Secondi dishes are the meatiest of the lot with the ½ Roasted Pigeon with potato and black garlic being a clear crowd favourite.
To match this eclectic menu, the wine list is a succinct collection of both popular drops and lesser-known beauties hailing from local Tassie wineries as well as renowned international regions. You’ll find the Fico dining room is spacious, flooded with natural light, and dotted with leafy green plants. Fig leaf green tables are scattered over the polished concrete floor and the walls are lined with a collection of works by local artist Tom Samek, who also happens to be Oskar’s father.
Fico is classically Italian though its heart is Tasmanian. Together, Frederica and Oskar have created a venue with a streak of individuality never seen before in this part of Australia and it runs deep. Their ‘fun dining’ concept has paved the way for a large wave of culinary creativity to take over the state of Tasmania.