The launch of Cucina on Hay was just what I’d expect from a big Italian family. Robust food, ample drinks and warm, welcoming company.
The space itself was a quaint but contemporary take on an Italian alimentary and was enough to make my mouth drool. With platters of cured meats, olives, fresh tomatoes, and cheeses dressing up the restaurant, it was hard to see how I could save room for the mains.
Fortunately, once the wait staff began offering them around, I managed to overcome that hurdle. Head Chef Sharath Kanchala knew what he was talking about when recommending the Pork Belly Bites.
The slow cooked bite sized pieces of Linley Valley pork fell apart effortlessly in my mouth. Paired with a delicate apple slaw and a cider reduction, this dish was easily the most delicious of the night.
In saying that, there were plenty of worthy contenders. Slow cooked lamb osso buco, calamari tentacles paired with semolina herb dust, rustic pizzas, and smoked cheese and house-made chorizo arancini balls - just to name a few.
The range of drinks were no less impressive. Cucina’s exclusive mixologist Arthur Cesar was taking good care of all guests, myself included, with his take on a Negroni cocktail. This gin, Campari, and vermouth cocktail was given a twist of Aperol and port for an extra kick and is one of many custom cocktails that are available at Cucina.
Otherwise, if you’re wanting just a classic or something more specific, Arthur and the staff are happy to make up anything on request, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Cucina is a big fan of both traditional Italian and local Australian produce, so if it’s not from Italy, drinks are usually sourced from right here in WA. Sipping on a glass (or two) of their Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot from Margaret River was one of the nights many highlights.
I’ve heard their coffee by barista Jerrilyn is pretty amazing too so I’ll be heading back for brekky in no time to try it out, along with their signature house-made muesli – a blend of quinoa, chia, almonds, Harvey WA Greek Yoghurt and candied fruit and nuts.
Cucina on Hay, 477 Hay Street, Perth, (08) 9326 7000, open 7 days a week, 7am to late. Visit http://www.cucinaonhay.com.au for more info.