We'd had a drink at Cantina della Casa next door a couple of weeks ago and decided that we liked the look of Casa Ciuccio hence booked in. We were seated right next to the pass in the kitchen and enjoyed the theatre and the activity.
The kitchen is obviously a professional one but then there's this dresser on the wall full of knick knacks like painted plates and other crockery giving it a homely feel.
We found the welcome warm and friendly and felt really well looked after over the course of the night both by kitchen crew and wait staff. Louise, head chef and on her last day (sad face) ran a fun but effective service and she also spent some time discussing the menu with us too. We enjoyed her interaction with us and her way of team leading.
Anchovy montadito - a finger sandwich of toasted bread soaked in olive oil with an anchovy filling. It was a salty, tasty opener and I can imagine great with a sherry or dry white wine. It's not the best anchovy morsel I've had but it was still pretty tasty.
Hervey Bay scallop with chorizo was a delicious plump scallop served cold with a warm chorizo relish that was sweet and with a hint of smoke. Yum!
We then share a bigger plate which was a special of Albacore tuna cured on a bed of Himalayan salt with apple, hazelnuts, chillies. Oh this was an explosion of all good things. Thick, meaty fish seasoned well with some chilli heat and a tang of apple and then a toastiness of nuts. Oh this was sensational. Bring me more please.
We also enjoyed the grilled snapper agro dolce. Beautifully cooked fillets of fish with a hint of char and then sweetened with the agro dolce which is this blend of currants and pine nuts and sweet spices that enhance the sweetness of the fresh fish. Light, bright and heartwarmingly good.
The brisket was so tender it just flaked yet was still juicy and the peppery crust provided some texture contrast, It came with mustard but Louise also gave us a couple of bottle of housemade hot sauce which I loved with the beef. Steve loved the beef but then braised meat is really his thing. I liked it but I think I would have preferred the chicken or quail more. I did love the roasted chats too.
Our choice of desserts were the dulce de leche cream pot and peanut praline and the
baked sour cherries, vanilla mascarpone and almonds. I had the dulce de leche which was basically a creamy, caramelly panna cotta topped with crunchy nutty praline and shards of amber like rock sugar. Surprisingly it wasn't cloyingly sweet which was great and whilst I thought I wouldn't get through it all, a break half way meant that it did eventually all disappear! Steve loved the cherry dessert with the cream - lots of sour cherries, almondy soft sponge and then creaminess from the mascarpone.
Casa Ciuccio was a hit for us. We loved being seated at table 29. Service was attentive and passionate and the food delicious and nourishing for the soul. I am looking forward to returning already.