Thursday, 4 April 2013

Cugini Restaurant

AJ and I rarely venture across the Tasman bridge except for journeys to the airport. However, Bellerive is home not only to cricket matches and the odd football game. It is home to Cugini, a intimate Italian restaurant that is adjacent to the Bellerive yacht club.

The menu is extensive covering pizza, pasta, mains and desserts. There is a decent range of quality Australian and Italian wines and beers. Modern furniture and casual dining are some ways to visualise the experience within your minds eye. Friendly staff who know their menu and specials well add to the enjoyment of your dinner.

I decided on pasta with a creamy gnocchi dish and AJ set her aim on a pepperoni pizza.

The gnocchi was bite sized and enveloped in a creamy Gorgonzola sauce with tender chicken and soft mushrooms.

The pizza had a crispy base and just slightly thick for my liking. The sauce was rich, the pepperoni spicy and amplified by fresh chilli slices adorning the dish.

Next came dessert: I decided to sample the tiramisu and AJ picked the donut.

The tiramisu was slightly sweet which sent the coffee flavour to the background. Some palettes may enjoy this but I thought it detracted slightly from the usually tiramisu experience. The donut was beautifully soft with a crisp sugared crust. Inside was a buttery peanut ice cream and marinated raspberries. A lashing of rich chocolate sauce sealed the deal with this dish.

Cugini really delivers by taking their diners through some traditional Italian fare with modern flavours and fresh ingredients. There were plenty of other menu choices which appealed so we'll be back to visit this eastern shore eatery soon!

Monday, 1 April 2013


For years this Melbourne restaurant has been praised for their large portion sizes - a favourite with parents and kids and even those wanting to get in a load of food before a night on the town.

So AJ and I dined at Mosskito in Clifton Hill. I wanted something Melbourne eateries do best: the chicken Parma. AJ went for an open Souvalaki.

Size-wise: Great big plates equalled big
quantities of food. Salad occupied about a 20% portion, chips about 35% but the focus was on the protein on both plates.

Chips: both plates had some crunchy well cooked chips but they were ruined somewhat by being over salted.

Parma: A good tomato sauce, low on onion, well-seasoned and rich tomato flavour. A decent amount but not so much to make the crumb coating soggy. The cheese was plentiful. The chicken itself was moist but slightly over. All in all - a decent sized Parma that was well cooked. However, if size was the selling point I don't know what all the fuss is about.

Souvlaki: AJ enjoyed the mixed meats of lamb and chicken. The chicken was moist and took on the flavour of the grilled capsicum and onion that it was prepared with. The lamb had a slight lemoney overtone which was refreshing. The accompanying pita bread and tzatziki were both good also. Big portion sizes were reflected well on this plate.

The venue is quite large so can get rather noisy but the staff are generally attentive and know their menu well. Overall it is a good place to get a big feed but to describe the menu I think 'bistro style food of the 80s-90s'.

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