By Vivienne Pearson
Even though it’s his first time featuring in the hallowed pages of The Echo, it all feels surprisingly familiar to Lenny Ransome. His mother, Carol, was a journalist for the paper back in the day. ‘The Echo started when I was two, and it was a big part of my life,’ says Lenny. ‘I pretty much grew up under the desk.’
Since then, Lenny’s cheffing journey has taken him to Melbourne and Brisbane, but he is now back home, just a block from The Echo’s offices, running Società Bistro at the Mullum Ex-Services Club.
The name, ‘Società’, can be pronounced however you like. ‘Anyway goes,’ says Lenny in his typical laid-back manner. But the Italian pronunciation is how it was intended. ‘So-shee-etta’ is my lay-pronunciation guide (Italian flair and hand movements optional).
Lenny’s cheffing journey has taken him to many places and through many culinary styles, but he keeps returning to Italian. He’s worked at some big name restaurants, including The European in Melbourne (next door to the Princess Theatre) and Gianni’s Kitchen, on the river in Brisbane.
He also knows a thing or two about burgers, having run The Popular food cart (hand-fashioned from a horse float) for a couple of years. ‘It’s named after The Popular Café that was in Mullum,’ says Lenny of the café that he thinks closed about a decade ago. ‘Everyone used to go there for $2 burgers back in the day.’
The menu of Società is a blend of traditional club fare and Italian cuisine. ‘It’s kind of two menus in one,’ says Lenny. ‘Our biggest sellers are schnitzels and steaks, but after that it would be the spaghetti marinara and mussels.’
Lenny doesn’t make a song and dance about the effort he goes to in creating dishes, to the extent that he suspects many customers don’t realise that their gnocchi and linguine is hand-made. My spaghetti marinara perfectly captured the ideals of good Italian cuisine; al dente pasta, simple but delicious flavours, and fewer but higher quality ingredients.
If you’re a lover of specials, try Società on a Tuesday for two schnitzels for the price of one, on Thursdays kids eat free, and on Sundays Lenny cooks a mean traditional roast. Bookings are encouraged, as it is not uncommon for the restaurant to be full, especially on Wednesday (raffle night) and Friday.
Società means club, so it is an ideal name for a restaurant at the Ex-Services Club, especially as members receive a 10% discount on food.
Società Bistro, Mullum Ex-Services Club, 58 Dalley Street,
Mullumbimby – just look up for the clear red lettering as you approach.
Ph: 6684 2533,
societabistro.com or on FB / Insta @SocietaBistro.