If you’re looking for an authentic slice of Italian in the middle of Sydney, Cucina Porto at The Star Sydney should be your next stop.
Officially opening in late 2020, Cucina Porto is a home-away-from home for Italian Executive Chef Martino Pulito (ex-Pasta Emilia), serving honest Italian cuisine by recreating his family table for guests to enjoy.
Never ones to say no when carbs are on offer, we were quick to give this place a try and it didn’t disappoint. Here are four reasons you should definitely head to Cucina Porto:
An atmosphere far, far away
Sliding into one of the booths at Cucina you would be forgiven for temporarily forgetting the pandemic, border closures and travel bans and imagining yourself seated in the heart of New York, enjoying a delicious meal while a blizzard blows outside.
The restaurant is dripping in mid-century glamour, with inviting modern decor and moody lighting conjuring a ‘roaring twenties’ atmosphere that doesn’t quite make up for our so-far lacklustre decade but is the next best thing.
Add to that the authentic Italian fare, elegant cocktails and charming staff, and a trip to this hidden gem is just what the doctor ordered for anyone in desperate need of a trip to another place… or time
Bread, bread, bread
If there’s one part of dining out we really look forward to, it’s the bread you get right at the start of the meal. After all, when do you ever chow down on nearly a loaf of bread at home before tucking into dinner?
You can really tell a lot about the quality of the food you’re about to be served by the delectable carbs on offer at a restaurant and when it comes to Cucino Porto, we weren’t let down. The Stone Baked Bread, served with olive tapenade and extra virgin olive oil, was not only delicious but also quite the table showstopper.
Served straight from the oven, the bread arrives inflated like a doughy balloon just waiting to be popped. Sure to be a hit with foodie-loving Instagrammers, the whole table was transfixed as we pulled it apart and watched it deflate. Even better was how good it tasted.
Hot tip: Order the burrata with pistachio pesto and ’nduja crumbs as an accompaniment. You can thank us later.
Epic cocktail menu
After spending lockdown drinking poorly-made G&Ts and bottled beer at home, it was rather exciting to gaze upon Cucina Porto’s classic cocktail menu.
As with the food, most of the drinks were in Italian which made them equally unpronounceable and tantalising. There’s the patriotic Garibaldi - named for a general who unified Italy in the late 19th century, of course - consisting Campari and orange juice and two varieties of the iconic Aperol spritz: one traditional and the other with a rhubarb twist.
We opted for a lemon sgroppino, a zesty blend of prosecco, vodka and lemon sorbet that paired particularly well with the oysters we enjoyed as an aperitivo.
Gets the basics right
If pizza and pasta regularly find themselves on the menu in your household then you’re probably no stranger to hitting up any and all Italian restaurants you can find.
And sometimes the best way to quickly judge how good the food on offer is, it’s by ordering the basics - a margarita pizza and a bolognese or ragu pasta.
At Cucina Porto the margarita was made with both buffalo and mozzarella - because you can never have enough cheese - and the base was just the right balance between fluffy and crispy. In terms of previous margarita experience’s we’d probably rate this one a solid 7 or 8/10.
We would definitely recommend the Schiaffoni - a ragu of slow cooked beef and lamb on top of thick pappardelle pasta, the meat just melted in your mouth and the rosemary sauce had the perfect amount of flavour.
The food and drinks may have been delicious, but Cucina Porto has yet another thing going for it – it's an Instagrammer's dream.
This is important, because, let's be honest, if it didn't end up on Instagram, were you even there? From the stunning interiors and gorgeous cocktails, to the beautifully showcased food you'll likely find yourself unable to stop taking photos of anything and everything at Cucina Porto.
If you're after something a little more unique to put on the 'gram, the restaurant's pear within a pear dessert may be the thing you're after.
Yahoo Lifestyle was a guest of Cucina Porto.
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