Bucci is bringing a little bit of tszuj to the Italian dining scene with its refreshed menus for autumn. With the new, stripped down and paired back lunch menu, categorised into easily digestible – pardon the pun – columns for Pesce (fish), Carne (meat), Verdune (vegetables) and Dolce (dessert), exciting flavour combinations and twists on old classics, as well as its stunning open air frontage on James Street, it is a venue perfect for working lunches, large groups or cosy dinners, any time of day or night.
In my view though, Bucci is a venue best enjoyed with friends. Because you get to share dishes like this…(and take photos of them).
ASSAGGINI | TO SHARE
These divine Capesante, or scallops, caused much debate after the menu refreshed. After several years, Bucci’s Hervey Bay scallops are now served with oregano, lemon, chilli aioli and a pancetta crumb instead of the traditional garlic and parsley combination. And guess what? They are exquisite. Melt in your mouth morsels of creamy seafood goodness with a hit of punchy, but not overpowering herbs and crunch from the pancetta crumb for a contrast in texture.
Olive all’ Ascolana
At my request (because I am a sucker for green olives and anything stuffed) we ordered the giant crumbed green olives filled with fennel, salami, pork, chilli and rosemary. Served with a fresh and zingy salsa verde, each olive transported to Italian groves and smoke houses. A lovely little starter to get the tastebuds working.
Can you ever go to an Italian restaurant in Australia without ordering these deep fried balls of deliciousness? I think not. A twist on the old favourite, a layer of golden fried bread crumbs coats intensely mushroom infused risotto balls and oozing with Fontina cheese. The point of difference? The sticky blueberry preserve each ball is served on, which cuts through the saltiness of the cheese and adds depth to the flavour combination.
Raviolo aperto alle Mele e Prosciutto
A knock out dish, the Raviolo comes as giant sheets of fresh pasta coalescing on the plate with succulent pieces of smoky ham hock, and crunchy walnuts. Finished with a smattering of vibrant green peas, sweet–just-cooked-apples and pecorino shavings the flavours are hearty and earthy.
SECONDI & PRIMI | MAINS & PASTA
Gnocchi alle Erbe con Brasato di Manzo
Not normally a pasta eater I was very much looking forward to this dish and had high expectations…they were met. The house-made gnocchi itself was outstanding – small, herb littered, cloud-like pillows of potato goodness exploded in the mouth. Soft but still perfectly chewy in texture, each nugget worked perfectly against the fall-apart-melt-in-your-mouth sticky braised beef brisket, which takes on the richness of the tomato based sauce. With gooey eggplant, sun-dried tomato and crunchy friend onion rings throughout, each mouthful was a delight.
Rotolo con Gamberi
This pasta dish is perfect for anyone looking for something with fresh and delicate flavours. The rotolo is made in house from rice flour and it rolled with a mixture of shallots, basil and mint. Topped with juicy Queensland tiger prawns and drizzled with balsamic, everything is a hero and compliments all the elements on the plate.
Although I didn’t taste this dish there were groans of satisfaction from those around the table. The pan-fried Palmers Island mulloway was plump and fleshy and came in a pool of spicy ‘Bloody Mary’ broth with mussels and greens.
VINO | Wine
When it came to choosing the wine, the table unanimously settled on the Rolf Binder Shiraz…maybe because it was from the Barossa (and I am bias) or because it was the perfect accompaniment to the bold flavours on our plates, but it was smooth, silky and slid down the throat the only way a good red does.
DOLCE | DESSERT
I’ll let the pictures do all the talking…
Chocolate Nemesis del “The River Café” (the best chocolate cake ever)
Served with vanilla mascarpone and crushed frozen raspberries.
Cannoli al Limone
Cannoli filled with half lemon curd and half toasted Italian meringue.
A sticky treacle pudding served with house made scorched macadamia nut gelato.
AKA Italian doughnuts. Served with caramelised coconut cream Panna Cotta and a salted chocolate fudge.
My top picks for the meal? I’d have to go with the sweet scallops and the gnocchi. Think something fresh and light to start with a knockout housemade pasta dish to follow. And if you have space don’t go past the Bombolini or what is coined to be the best chocolate cake ever.
If you’ve been to Bucci recently I’d love to hear what dishes make your must try list!
Disclaimer: Thanks to Bucci for inviting me to come and try the new Autumn menu FOC. All views are my own. I don’t normally eat pasta but the Gnocchi “gnocc’d my socks off”!