A coast to coast experience is exactly what you get at Cucina Vivo, a brand new restaurant on the Gold Coast that recreates the experience of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The result is that all you can think about are long walks on the beach followed by even more long walks on the beach.
But can Cucina Vivo’s food carry you over to Italian shores? Let’s find out.
Nothing says Italian seaside like a soft blue and peach colour scheme and designer furnishings. And nothing says Italy itself like a two metre long wood-fired pizza oven, which takes pride of place in the middle of the restaurant.
Cucina Vivo has very thoughtfully crafted a space that transforms you to the Southern Italian shores, which is no mean feat when you're actually on the southern shore of Broadbeach.
Below we had:
- Cinquanta-Cinquanta: Aperol, Campari, Fresh Peach Puree
- One More Thyme: Tanquaray Gin, Green Chartreuse, Lavender and Thyme Sugar Syrup
- 2013 Renato Corino Barbera
Each of the cocktails were subtle, and very thoughtfully blended. There was only a hint of peach puree to lift the Cinquanta-Cinquanta, rather than the drink being unnecessarily blasted with fruit.
The lavender and thyme sugar syrup in the One More Thyme added a nice savoury taste, and made you instantly think of being in a European garden.
The 2013 Renato Corino Barbera was earthy and slightly funky tasting. Barbera is best drunk young, and this was opening up really well for us.
We also had a glass each of the 2010 Renato Corino Barolo, which to be honest, blew the Barbera out of the water. It was rich, complex and drinking beautifully even at such a young age.
- Gnocchi Trifolati: Sauteed Mushrooms, Truffle Oil and Marjoram
- Tortelloni Ripieni: Crab Meat, Ricotta and Lemon Zest on Green Pea Puree
Three words: Best. Gnocchi. Ever. A forkful of this gnocchi was one you closed your eyes over. It was soft and fluffy on the inside and pan seared crisp on the outside. Each little dumpling soaked up the rich mushrooms and truffle oil brilliantly.
I absolutely loved, loved, loved the tortelloni as well. It was packed full of crab meat which was slightly sweet and fantastic quality. The fresh peas and pea puree was also such a nice change from the usual tomato-based sauces. This was truly a seaside Spring on a plate.
- Pesce Del giorno (Fish of the Day): Snapper with Prawns, Corn Basil Salad, Fennel and Pumpkin Puree
- Cape Grim Rib Eye (300g): with Potatoes, Capers and Lamb Lettuce Salad
- Argula E Pere: Balsamic Roasted Pears, Argula, Provolone, Semi-Dried Tomatoes, Vinaigrette
The generous amounts of snapper served up were so fresh they can’t have been long out of the sea. I loved all the sweetness of the prawns, corn and pumpkin puree it was served with. This fresh dish was creative and beautifully blended together.
The Cape Grim Rib Eye was absolutely top quality. If you like a good bit of steak- go here. The potatoes were mashed with some capers added in, which gave it a salty hint of the ocean. We are in a double-coastal restaurant after all.
Lastly if you’re going to order a salad, make sure this is it. The balsamic roasted pears were soft and rich and went so well with the salty provolone cheese. This cheese was so moreish I could have eaten a whole block of it.
- Cioccolato Rosso Ferari: Pistacio Crostata, Stracciatella Ice Cream, Ferrari Red Chocolate Sphere, Grappa Infused Chocolate Sauce
- Flavours of Italy: An Assorted Variety of Small, Delicious Desserts – Two Gelati, Tiramisu, Zuppa Inglese and Panna Cotta
The Zuppa Inglese is a chocolate and Vanilla cremeux, vanilla sponge, fresh fruit, nitrogen poached meringue. It tastes as amazing as it sounds.
The Cioccolato Rosso Ferari was Italian flair on a plate. It came out with puffs of smoke wafting from the Stromboli-like chocolate creation, which was quenched with a steady stream pour of chocolate sauce.
I expected it to taste as rich and decadent as it looked, but instead of hitting you with a sugar punch, it was really well balanced. The thin chocolate shell was almost dainty and while the grappa chocolate sauce was rich, it was perfect to cut through the creamy ice cream.
The stand-out was the Zuppa Inglese which had a bit of everything going in such a small glass. The nitrogen poached meringue was crisp and set off the creamy flavours well.
With fresh, thoughtful, creative food in a Southern Italian setting, Cucina Vivo has done well in bringing la dolce vita to our shores.