Fo0die dined as a guest of Cucinetta and as such, the rating does not give any consideration to customer service.
We arrived at Cucinetta (who recently celebrated their 1st birthday) on a Friday evening after a short ride on the train to South Yarra train station and a short walk from there to the venue. We noted that the parking along the street was 1P with ticketed parking on Station Street.
At 6:30pm, the place was filling up with basically someone seating at every table waiting for the rest of their guests to arrive. Therefore bookings are definitely recommended to ensure you are not disappointed (we did see some people being turned away).
The venue’s name ‘Cucinetta’ actually translates to “little kitchen” in Italian and that perfectly described the kitchen area that was located at the back of the venue with the chef often peeping out of the kitchen watching the guests enjoy their food.
Located at a corner, windows surround two sides of the venue. The interior is a mix of black and brown tones with beautiful timber top tables and cushioned chairs filling the tiny space.
Upon entry, the bar is on the left with bar seating available around it and a number of small tables on the right side of the venue that can be put together to create tables to cater for larger groups. Out the front of the venue there are two tables by the street with the restrooms located in the building (but not in the venue) which is accessed via a door that is roughly three doors down.
Given the small kitchen and therefore small space for storage, Cucinetta has worked this to their advantage by offering a menu that changes weekly to ensure the freshest produce is used. And as far as they know, they are the only venue in Melbourne that changes their menu weekly to keep things interesting for their customers. Cucinetta publishes their weekly menu on their instagram as well as their website and writes up the week’s menu on a blackboard at the venue which sits above the bar.
After ordering we were treated to their homemade bread rolls which the venue makes twice daily, once for the lunch service and once more for the dinner service. The soft bread roll is served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
We started with two entrees; the bruschetta and the prawns. The bread on the bruschetta dish was nice and crispy and was a little different with the addition of walnuts which brought a nice nutty twist to the bruschetta entree. The prawns was served with a chilli tomato based sauce with bread to soak up the last of the delicious sauce. The sauce had a nice chilli kick to it with the prawns just cooked; a delicious entree to open up the appetite.
The two pasta dishes we shared both had the homemade fettuccine that’s made at the venue. The veal ragu pasta dish was more like a meat sauce rather than a liquid sauce which allowed each scoop of pasta to also include the ragu sauce. The stand out for us was the pancetta pasta with the rocket pesto packed with flavour.
A beautiful pink risotto dish, while simple looking, was cooked perfectly and had a lovely flavour and oh so creamy.
We finished our meal with this adorable presentation of Cucinetta’s little garden tiramisu. It was not super strong in coffee flavour with plenty of cream for the cream lover and an airy sponge. The addition of the chocolate ‘dirt’ on top gave the tiramisu a bit of texture which we really enjoyed.
Cucinetta is a nice hidden find in South Yarra for some good authentic Italian food which is priced a little more than other Italian restaurants we have been to in Melbourne. We left the venue in awe of how such a tiny space can be used to make pasta, bread rolls and prepare all these dishes.
Dishes that make up this review
- Bruschetta del giorno ($14)
- Gamberi alla diavola ($23)
- Vialone nano risotto with beetroot cream, peas and gorgonzola ($29)
- Homemade fettuccine with rocket pesto, pancetta and cherry tomatoes ($29)
- Homemade fettuccine with veal ragù slow-cooked in full cream milk
- Cucinetta’s little garden tiramisu ($14)