Cucinetta, Woolwich

Cucinetta is Italian for “little kitchen”. And a lovely little kitchen this is in the salubrious Woolwich peninsula, looking out towards the habour bridge. Bright and light, its a great space for a relaxed lunch, admiring the city from a distance and glad that you are not a part of its busyness. Now in its seventh year, Vincenzo Mazzotta’s kitchen must be putting on a good show or the well heeled local patrons would have quickly flocked elsewhere. There’s a lot to be said for longevity in the restaurant game.

I’ve seen a few recent negative comments about the service and staff, but they seem to have heeded them, as they were attentive, welcoming, and accommodating, and we felt well looked after.

On the menu:

Pane Carasau – Sardinian Bread with mascarpone cheese and truffle honey and marinated olives.  While the cheese and honey combination was a great creamy indulgence to spread on the crispy slices, it was an incredibly small portion of cheese, and this was not at all good value for $21.

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Calamaretti – lighty fried calamari with tartare aioli. And the frying was indeed light, with no heavy sense of oil.

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Proscuitto di Parma with Buffalo Mozzarella and Caramelised Grapes.  Those grapes – a standout - and such a pretty dish, but again I thought four slices of prosciutto was a little lean.

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Vincenzo’s signature potato gnocchi with parmesan fondue, truffle, and black pepper.  Light and fluffy potato pillows, though I couldn’t really taste the truffle.

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Fresh Egg Squid Ink Linguine with crab meat, tomato, basil, parsley, and fried chilli.  This was the dish of the day for me. Silky smooth pasta, balanced tomato sauce, fresh crab, and chilli that provided a flavoursome fragrance rather than an overpowering punch.

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Grigliata – mixed grilled seafood – beautifully and simply done, as good quality seafood should be. Once again, a small serve, considering it was a main course and came with a $43 price tag.

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And to finish, ricotta canoli.  Not a great finish – pastry too thick and not as light and crisp as canoli I’m used to, and too much lemon in the ricotta.

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So the verdict – lovely surrounds, friendly staff, food with finesse and good flavours overall, but the serving sizes relative to price are disproportionate.  Italian food usually equates with generosity, and they need just a little more of it here.

Cucinetta, 103 Woolwich Rd Woolwich Ph (02) 9817 2125

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