A Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and a cordial-inspired companion bar open in prime Collingwood digs.

Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Orlo and its companion bar, The Cordial Club are the new kids on a very old Collingwood block, housed in a one-time cordial factory that dates back to 1888.

Upstairs at Orlo, chef Matteo Tine, an alumnus of Grossi Florentino, busies himself with the inventive likes of lobster Scotch eggs and hot-smoked celeriac pastrami, while downstairs at The Cordial Club, punters delight in a cordial-rich cocktail list put together by Melbourne drinks supremo Joe Jones. 

Here’s one way to crack in, according to chef Matteo.   

How about a drink?
We are quite blessed here at Orlo and The Cordial Club. We’re housed in a historic cordial factory, so naturally, we’re basing things in The Cordial Club around the humble cordial. We’ve worked closely with Joe Jones on the cocktail list – he makes seasonal cordials for us at Purple Pit and uses them in the cocktails. I would suggest going for the Ocean Ranch made with sour beer. You have the option to add one of our house cordials to it, which sounds crazy, but works well with the sour beer and is quite common in Europe.

Where should we sit?
Personally, I’d sit in a romantic corner up against the exposed bluestone or pull up a seat in our enclosed courtyard. If you’re coming solo, sit at the bar and order a Strawberry Negroni.

What if we’re here for a good time not a long time?
Order the smoked orange and miso-glazed swordfish with olive mollica for a quick bite and have it with a Martini Orlo.

And if we like tasty food but don’t eat animals?
Go the hot-smoked celeriac pastrami, brined, roasted, rubbed with pepper and slow cooked, and served with rye crackers, lightly fermented cabbage and wattleseed vegan mayo.

Name the dish that captures the Orlo vibe.
This is a hard question to answer; the menu really is a collection of things that I like to cook or eat. As a Melburnian, I’ve got influences from all around the world and the idea of being pigeonholed into just one style of food makes me feel cuisine-strophobic. A good example of this would be my char siu-style chicken with fennel and vincotto glaze: it’s my take on a barbecued Chinese-style chicken, but I wanted it to taste European, hence the fennel seed. This dish is super untraditional but somehow it works, especially with the fermented chilli and pickled fiorelli.

Let’s go big. Let’s go crazy. What have you got for us?
You need the lobster Scotch egg with caviar chased with a bottle of Jacquart Mosaique Brut. Then I’d head straight towards the dry-aged rib-eye with leek and porcini dry rub and house-made chestnut-flour honey mustard. Leave room for a few cocktails downstairs in The Cordial Club.

And to close?
Can’t go past the baci: chocolate mousse with a hazelnut-cream centre, dipped in dark chocolate. Need I say more?

Orlo, 44 Oxford St, Collingwood, (03) 8383 1024, open 5pm-11pm Tue, noon-2.30pm and 5pm-11pm Wed-Sat, orlo.com.au, @orlo.collingwood