Forget fusion, embrace exploration at this fiery new Surry Hills restaurant.
Nestled in the heart of Surry Hills, amidst the bustling energy of Devonshire Street, a new culinary flame flickers. Ogni, a Bengali word for “fire,” crackles with the essence of a journey undertaken by two friends—Sarah Tiong and Rashedul Hasan. Ogni represents a story woven from shared passions, migrant stories, and a playful dance with fire that redefines the very notion of South Asian cuisine.
The friends paths first crossed amidst the simmering tension of Masterchef auditions in 2016. While Sarah, with her Chinese-Malaysian heritage, brought forth the delicate artistry of Southeast Asian flavours, Rashedul, rooted in the soulful traditions of Bangladesh, carried the smoky whispers of clay pots and open flames. But beyond the initial differences, a spark ignited – a kindred spirit, a shared love for the symphony of spices across the continent and the language of food spoken in whispers of garlic and laughter.
This shared language formed the foundation of Ogni. It’s not a restaurant that merely borrows, but one that embraces. It doesn’t compartmentalise but celebrates the beautiful blurring of lines, the unexpected harmony found in a mango-glazed calamari, a testament to Rashedul’s childhood mangoes and Sarah’s seafaring lineage. The new venture isn’t about labels; it’s about a dialogue between cultures, a conversation that’s been ignited by fire and fuelled by curiosity.
Forget meticulously carved presentations and rigid culinary boundaries. From the house-smoked butter drizzled over fluffy mantou (Chinese fried doughnuts) to the fiery Lao-style pork sausage. Mains pirouette across your palate, with the fragrant porchetta waltzing to the rhythm of Thai basil pesto, while the mango-glazed calamari, charred from the hibachi’s embrace, finds solace in the cool embrace of a green mango salad. And then there’s the handkerchief pasta, drenched in sage-infused butter, cradling a king prawn Malai curry, a dish that Rashedul so lovingly serves his children on Thursday nights.
In this dance of fire and flavour, Arvin Januar, Ogni’s head chef, brings his Indonesian tapestry to the table. His gentle demeanour belies a masterful hand, shaping future menus, and stoking the delicious flame even further.
Ogni wasn’t built to push boundaries but instead erase them. The restaurant is a space where heritage finds freedom, where flavours intertwine like childhood friends and where comfort takes on a global accent.
When stepping into Ogni you’ll have to let the flames guide you.