Sit Down Tobi Fox of Arlo Communal
Sit Down With SIR. | Tobi Fox of Arlo Communal
There is nothing quite like coming together to break bread and enjoy a good bottle of wine and great conversation with loved ones. Cal Fernie and Tobi Fox have harnessed this sacred ritual through Arlo Communal, a supper club they started in a photography studio in Sydney.
We sat down with Tobi to delve into the secrets of a great dinner party, his ultimate comfort food + an Arlo Communal go-to summer recipe.
Tell us a little bit about Arlo. How did the concept come about?
Arlo started as a supper club event that we hosted in a photography studio in Chippendale. We sat 12-20 guests every fortnight. It was really just an opportunity for us to showcase our personal taste and play around with settings and menus. It was also a chance for us to learn what it takes to host events, all the while allowing people to meet new people over dinner.
We have now evolved into something more like a pop-up restaurant. We host slightly larger scale events for the public and brands less frequently. These events tend to be more art driven but still with a precise focus on the food, wine, service and people.
What does sitting around a table sharing good food, wine and conversation mean to you?
There aren’t many more places where I feel as present and in the moment as I do sitting at the table. It's the place where I am most comfortable. It's a chance to escape your world and enter a new one - that being the world of the food, the wine, or the person sitting next to you.
What is the secret to a great dinner party?
Like anything really there isn't a secret. One must simply go out there and do it - then fail, then do it again a little better. Maybe the secret to a good dinner party is resilience.
More specifically, it's a combination of things that make a dinner great. What I would encourage one to seek if you are looking to host a great dinner party are these key elements:
Quality produce (go to your farmers markets, fish suppliers and butchers)
A menu that is a reflection of what you like to eat and drink
Invite people who are open minded and like new experiences
Lots of flowers
Most importantly, relax - know it's going to be okay (even if it's not). What people love seeing the most is that the host is happy.
Your most unlikely source of inspiration comes from…
Lack of sleep.
If you could invite anyone, past or present, to a dinner party, who's coming and where are you?
I’d like to have Skepta at a dinner party in the south of France. He’s the greatest.
Favourite place to eat out?
Dumpling and noodle house. Go with a couple friends - you’ll be satisfied no doubt.
Your go-to comfort food?
Spaghetti pomodoro. The classic.
What's on the menu for you guys this summer?
Whatevers ripe! Tomatoes, stone fruit, all the veg, lots of seafood.
1 Heirloom tomato
4 Cherry tomatoes (mixed colours preferably)
1 ball bufala mozzarella (get the best quality!)
4 basil leaves
2 tsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp smoked extra-virgin olive oil OR regular extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Note: this salad is very simple so it's extremely important to use the best quality products for the best result.
Slice heirloom tomatoes into 1.5 cm rounds and cherry tomatoes in half. Season with salt and pepper and leave to sit for at least 30 mins and room temperature. Next, slice the bufala in half and season with salt.
Once ready to plate, place one heirloom round on the plate, followed by the bufala in the middle, then drape another round of heirloom over the bufala. Follow this by scattering the cherry tomatoes randomly on the plate. Season the tomatoes with the sherry vinegar and the tomato water that has accumulated from the seasoned tomatoes. Finish by garnishing with torn basil and smoked EVOO.