Jackie McMillan
13th Sep 2023

Set on a sunny corner in Redfern, Calico puts the hospitality back into all-day venues. We were greeted and seated the second we walked in the door. Despite it being a busy Saturday lunch, staff emitted a relaxed vibe, taking time at the table to joke with my dining companion about his need to be double-parked with a spicy Margie ($18) and something from the rotating on-tap list. The zingy margarita was very well-infused with fresh green jalapeño. The Grifter pale ale ($9) was a quaffer, and staff happily transferred my bottled beer selection—a Stone & Wood Pacific Ale ($10)—to a chilled glass. 

The menu holds interest across all three meals. For lunch we narrowed it down to glazed lamb shoulder skewers ($19). They looked small on the plate but when transferred into half moons of soft Israeli pita with labneh, well-dressed parsley salad and beetroot pickles, they made up two decent and delicious tender lamb sangers. 

Pizzas, plucked from an Italian Marana Forni pizza oven, were well-handled with light fluffy bases and good, even blistering. Against a good amount of quality mortadella with a burrata centrepiece you get to pop yourself, Saporita ($29) impressed with duelling snakes of crema al pistacchio and Sicilian red pesto. It was even better with liberal helpings of their chilli oil. I’m contemplating leaving this one on my to-do list so I return and try dinner.