Otto regulars have been messaging chef Will Cowper for weeks.
“They’d ask, ‘What would it take to open up the private dining room for 20 people?’” he says. “Or, ‘Can you come and cook at my house? We miss your food.’”
Cowper had to turn them all down, but not anymore: Otto opens today for the first time since March 23, taking lunch and dinner bookings Wednesday to Sunday.
Given the current coronavirus restrictions, which limit separate dining areas to a maximum of 20 people at any one time, the restaurant won’t be running at full capacity. But Cowper and restaurant manager Alan Hunter can still manage 40 diners at lunch and 80 diners for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
The current menu – an abridged take on Otto’s elevated entrees, mains and pastas – includes favourites such as the champagne lobster spaghettini, Moreton Bay bug strozzapretti and Rangers Valley Black Market flap steak. There’s also a pici cacio e pepe pasta special served with truffles from WA.
“The menu is smaller than usual,” Cowper says. “But I’m happy. I’m more flexible, and we’re still doing specials. It’s interesting, getting new things in and being able to chop and change when we want.
“[The shortened menu] is until we do more numbers, and we’re on limited days as well. But this week is super positive because the numbers are incredible.”
In short, get booking.