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By INGRID HARRISON
WE have had some very enjoyable meals on the Eastern Shore this month and two experiences I would like to share.
Cugini Italian Restaurant and Takeaway 34 Cambridge Road Cambridge Tel: 6244 2727
THE first was trying Bellerive’s newest eatery, Cugini for the first time. You would know the Cugini location, formerly Jean Pasqual overlooking Kangaroo bay. Cugini opened its doors only a few months ago, and it’s a family collaboration between cousins, therefore the Italian translation: cugini.
Owners Marco and Alfonso Giusti work together to create an authentic Italian experience for the diners of Cugini.
Cugini offers traditional Italian dishes, pizza, home made pasta, calzone, veal and more. As well as having a standard menu Cugini also offers weekly special dishes. Cugini also caters for children which is handy for parents who find it difficult to get into many child-friendly venues.
Our friends decided to celebrate a birthday and wedding anniversary and went on a Saturday night. It is fair to say that the place was ‘rocking’ with a full house and therefore quite noisy. However once you get over the fact that everyone else is having a good time too, the service and food quality was exceptional. Despite the fact that the restaurant was at capacity and that the takeaway area had people lined up out the door, there were not delays in service and in taking our orders.
Our friends and hubby started with bruschetta with marinated roasted capsicum and the traditional tomato bocconcini and fresh basil. I had the calamari with aioli, lemon, fennel and rocket salad. For mains, the courses we chose were chicken rigatoni, salmon rigatoni and the seafood marinara in an angel hair pasta. The pasta was topped by a fresh green salad. Two desserts were chosen, the pana cotta with caramalised banana and strawberry sorbet. Wine of choice was Burchino, an Italian Chianti from Tuscany. The food was scrumptious, service delightful (one of the head staff came to check on our food and wine requirements regularly, and to see that we were happy with the service) and the timing incredible. Prices range from around $20 for entrées, $30 for mains and $15 for desserts. We were in and out within two and a half hours. All in all a great night, and we will be going back to ensure we support this wonderful, new local eatery. Don’t forget you can order takeaway and the pizza selection is amazing.
Bellerive Oval, 15 Derwent Street Bellerive Tel: 6282 0400
WHILE I know that this is not a restaurant as such, you really should consider using the catering services of the Mellers family, Ken, Di and now the head chef at Bellerive, son Oliver. This paper has written about Oliver’s return to Tasmania after some years away learning under top chef Heston Blumenthal at his renowned Fat Duck restaurant in Bray in Berkshire UK, and also working at Lord’s Cricket Ground for some years.
Now with Oliver on board, under the Mellers’ guidance, you can organise your special function at Bellerive, from weddings, to birthdays and any other special celebration, the venue areas at the oval cater for all types of occasions.
Our most recent experience was actually on our wedding anniversary which was fittingly, during the last Sheffield Shield home game for the season. The meal that Oliver prepared was perhaps one of the finest we have eaten, and that is a big call when hubby and I have been fortunate to eat in some extremely good restaurants in other parts of the world. Entrée was a stripy trumpeter ceviche with a baked corn, avocado puree and tomato salad. Divine.Main course was a roast beef fillet with potato and blue cheese rosti, asparagus and crisp prosciutto served with a red wine jus. Each fillet served at a table was perfectly cooked – medium rare as it should be and so tender it melted in your mouth. Dessert was an amazingly light strawberry mousse tart with white chocolate and mint icecream with shortbread. The standard of food is exceptional and the photographs here show the finesse that Oliver puts into presentation.
I know a number of colleagues who have had their special event at Bellerive or who have had the Mellers cater for them. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Phone Oliver direct at Rhubarb Catering on 0417 120 857