A chance encounter in Los Angeles has brought a well-credentialed chef to Sydney.
"I had a rice bowl at this hole-in-the wall in Los Angeles and thought this is really special," says restaurateur Jem Jacinto. "I met the chef; we both had a Filipino background. I asked if he'd be interested in coming to Australia to help me work on some menus. I only found out later about his background."
The chef, Charles Olalia, trained at Thomas Keller's legendary French Laundry and had been head chef at some of LA's hottest restaurants before branching out with his own pint-sized start-up. His own restaurants followed.
After helping Jacinto get his Finn Poke venture off the ground, Olalia turned his hand to the menu at Daily Greens, which Jacinto has just opened at the Oxford Street end of Glenmore Road in Paddington.
The healthy hotspot has a salad-rich line-up that sweeps from lemon kale slaw and a caesar salad made with kale to plant-based soups and green bowls.
Interior architect Han Lim has tapped a bright and airy feel, even adding a light-filled courtyard. "We also sell eco-friendly cutlery and cookbooks," Jacinto says.
The restaurateur's connection with Australia is a long one. He studied in Queensland before returning to the Philippines to work in the scrap metal business. Then he moved to the United States to help grow the Pig & Olive restaurant empire.
"I was keen to move back here, so we started Finn Poke," says Jacinto. "We're opening one (late 2019 or early 2020) at Circular Quay. It'll be side-by-side with an express version of Daily Greens."
Open daily 7am-7pm.
Shop 6, 2-16 Glenmore Road, Paddington.