Saturday, 26 May 2018

Cucinetta, Woolwich

I head into Cucinetta in Woolwich on this particularly sunny and gorgeous Sunday. Cucinetta has one hat from the Australian Good Food Guide so I was eager to check it out and had high expectations. I look out and see the Harbour Bridge view and smile. It's a nice day and you have to appreciate life's little pleasures.

As I walk into the venue, I notice how beautiful the tables look with the flowers. The staff tell me that many people celebrate birthdays and other occasions at Cucinetta with their friends and family. I notice that Cucinetta quickly fills up from 12:30pm. 

I blush slightly as I see Chef Vincenzo as I've been looking at the Cucinetta instagram. He is incredibly passionate about food and seems very humble about his achievements.

I chat to the staff about the menu and find the staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. So where do we start? Are you ready?

To start this meal, Matt and I have ordered the Piadina ($23) which has herb and garlic flat bread with Italian regional olives, buffalo ricotta and truffle honey. We're also treated to some calabrese spreadable salami. I'm intrigued and eagerly spread that light and fluffy buffalo ricotta onto the bread. I then drizzle some of that truffle honey onto the bread. It's absolutely light, delightful and creamy on the palette. Matt's really eager to try the spreadable salami. A big smirk and a few bites later, I can tell he's enjoying this new textural element of the salami. It's a nice way to start the meal.

The Piadina is paired with a Prosecco Val D'oca Millesimato 2016  from the Fiuli Venezia Giulia Italy. The prosecco is bubbly with balanced acidity and is dry with light subtle fruity tones. It matches the starter as it cuts through that creamy buffalo ricotta and leaves a refreshing aftertaste.

Next up is the Burrata ($27) which is made from Puglian money bag creamy mozzarella with caramelised hazelnuts, figs, blood plum marmalade and proscuitto. This is paired with a Cesari Fiorile Pinot Grigio 2017 from the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia Italy. This light and clean Pinot Grigio complements the Burrata. I know Matt is in heaven as he loves the combination of Burrata and proscuitto.

I personally love all the texturally contrasting elements from the crunchy hazelnuts, the creamy burrata which also flow with flavours from the sweet figs and marmalade and the savoury proscuitto. It just works. 

We are also served activated charcoal bread which looks black and you may instinctively think it looks burnt but once you bite into the bread, your other senses then correct your instincts. I spread the burrata onto the bread and enjoy the combination of flavours and textures. The pairings of wine have been perfect so far. My food feelings are very happy.

Now for the mains... I have been looking at so many photos of this next dish. It's been described as the best Gnocchi in Sydney by some of my fellow food blogging friends so the anticipation for this dish has been building within me. 

The Gnocchi ($35 main size) is the signature dish which has potato gnocchi, gorgonzola sauce, aromatic pork sausage, fresh figs and pistachio. Those little parcels of potato are light, fluffy and soft. That gorgonzola sauce is generous in portion so it covers the gnocchi,  smooth and strong in flavour. The Pork Sausage is sprinkled so that the prominent feature is the gnocchi and that gorgonzola sauce. There's also the fig for sweetness and pistachio for crunch. I'm in gnocchi heaven and will have to concur with some of my foodie friends that this is indeed the best gnocchi I've tasted in Sydney. Amazing and a must order.

Please note that as Matt and I are sharing, the main portion was split out into two bowls.

The Gnocchi is paired with the Chianti Classico Montoro 2013 from the Tuscany region in Italy. This dark red wine is a medium to full bodied with berry tones. The bolder flavours are able to mellow out the gorgonzola sauce on the palatte. I personally love a full bodied red wine so I sip on this one in satisfaction.

The Gamberi ($47, serving of 4) has fresh Ballina King Prawns, chilli butter n'duja, white wine sauce. These huge King Prawns look magnificent almost like lobsters. What amazing produce. I squeeze lemon over the Ballina King Prawns. The zesty citris tones soak into the prawns. I am enjoying these prawns, they are slightly buttery in taste but retain the mostly natural prawn taste. This dish is best paired with a Luma Grillo 2017 from the Sicily region in Italy.

Please note the usual portion is 4 prawns for main. Pictured in this dish are two prawns.

The Agnello ($39) is the Riverina slow cooked 13hr lamb shoulder, roast pumpkin, brussel sprouts, feta, pepitas, pine nuts and sultanas. The lamb is slow cooked and comes out so succulent that the knife goes straight through. The glaze on the outside adds a nice rich flavour to the soft succulent lamb. I can see Matt's eyes light up as he savours each mouthful of the Riverina lamb. What a delightful dish. The recommended matching wine for this one is a Masciarelli Montepulciano Di Abruzzo 2015 from the Abruzzo region in Italy. This wine perfectly matches the lamb and I'm in heaven. 

Please note Matt and I shared a main portion which was served on two separate dishes.

The gnocchi, the prawns and the lamb have been so delightful to eat. We also have some greens for balance. There's the side of the Verdure ($15) which is garlic sauteed brocolini with almond slivers.

I am incredibly satisfied and my food feelings are amazingly happy. I am told though that I cannot leave without dessert. Matt has a major sweet tooth so we go ahead and order dessert.

Dessert is paired with Pellegrino Passito Di Panteleria 2016 from Sicily in Italy. I firstly eye off and order the Vincenzo's Tiramisu ($28, serves 2). This is a special recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. It's Matt that normally loves the Tiramisu and starts immediately on this dessert. I do enjoy the dessert but it wasn't until I tasted this very Vincenzo's Tiramisu that I fell in love. The delicate components of chocolate, biscuit, chocolate flakes, cream and crunchy hazelnut swirl in my mouth creating a crazy frenzy of desire. I am in love with this Tiramisu and I'm surprised. This Tiramisu is simply perfect and a must order.

I absolutely love Chocolate Fondants so I simply had to order Vincenzo's Signature Hazelnut and Chocolate Fondant ($23) which has cocoa, nut, coconut crumb, fresh figs, milk chocolate cream and coconut sorbet. The Fondant is perfectly cooked as it's solid on the outside and as you break into it, the chocolate oozes out of the fondant. I smack my lips and spread the chocolate with my tongue. This chocolate is amazing and this dessert is amazing but I think still thinking about that Tiramisu. Somehow, Matt and I demolish both dessert despite being quite full from the meal. It's because dessert was so good.

Please note this takes 20 minutes to prepare.

Summary: Overall, I experienced a simply perfect meal. You think perfection wouldn't exist but it does. I would strongly encourage you to head to Cucinetta while you can. I think the high quality food, amazing service and beautiful venue is worth two hats. Watch out Australian Good Food Guide, you have a stunner on your hands.

The highlights would definitely have to be the gnocchi, the lamb shoulder and that tiramisu. All the dishes were superb and I would recommend ordering all the dishes I had. All the wine was perfectly paired. This is my favourite restaurant of 2018 so far. Amazing, Perfection and much love. I'm still thinking of that Tiramisu. Love your work Chef Vincenzo!!! 

Price: Mains are approx $31-40ish. Glasses of wine are approx $12-14

Location: 103 Woolwich Rd, Woolwich

Opening Hours: 

Closed Monday
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5:30pm to 10pm
Friday, Saturday 11:30am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 10pm
Sunday 11:30am to 3pm

Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of the venue or their representatives. All photos, opinions and words are my own.
Cucinetta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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