Last Wednesday, our favourite food fanatic Dougal McFuzzlebutt joined forces with local Italian restaurant Cicheti (Product of Italy) located down at the Brickworks to host a night of wine, good company and of course, delicious food!
As the sun shone brilliantly over our delegated long table, we mixed and mingled while helping ourselves to some starters including Beef Sliders with provolone, tomato chutney and rocket, natural Oysters alongside a choice of creamy sauce with a squeeze of lemon and a mixed selection of thinbread Pizza. And these were only the starters…
We were then introduced to our wine selection for the night, provided by Atlas Wines, including fine wines from the likes of Hither & Yon, Prince Estivac and Giuseppe Cortese. Bellisimo!
Before taking our seat at the dining table, we wondered over to the open kitchen to catch a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action, eyeing off an impressive wood oven grill on our way. There, we were treated to an authentic Italian display of pasta making being performed by restaurant owner Remo‘s own mother – family businesses always do it best.
After receiving a warm and accommodating welcome from Remo himself, dinner was served. For our entrees, out came a ridiculous Antipasto Platter consisting of rockmelon wrapped in sliced prosciutto, thin sliced salami, marinated fior di latte, cherry trust tomatoes and marinated olives.
Following that, trays of crunchy Duck Aranchini Balls with tomato salsa were placed in front of us, alongside Tomato and Basil Schiacciata and Vitello Tonnato – a fine sliced veal served cold with a creamy dressing. We played mix and match with all of our grazing options, particularly loving the salami, olive and fior di latte combination on herbed schiacciata.
Moving onto our next course of Italian cuisine, it wouldn’t be Italian if there wasn’t an entire course dedicated to pasta… and that we had. With all pasta being handmade in the kitchen inhouse, there was a special texture and taste to Cicheti’s pasta that you certainly couldn’t get with something store-bought.
Cooked to perfection with a firm bite and not too soft, we were served three different types of delicious homemade pasta: Gnocci with duck and porcini ragu, Fettuccine in granchio with crab and crab meat and a simple yet mouthwatering Penne Salsiccia.
While all there dishes were absolutely beyond amazing (we could just be saying this because we’re obsessive pasta fiends), we had a particular love for Cicheti’s gnocci dish. The pasta demonstration we watched earlier was, in fact, the process of making this gnocchi we had been served in particular, and with the freshly made potato goodness being served in a tomato-based pulled duck and porcini ragu, this dish was divine to say the least. We also enjoyed picking at the crab’s claws after polishing off our pasta, indulging in the soft and sweet interior.
By this point, despite being full to the brim and extremely satisfied, there was still more to come. We were offered a selection of four gigantic-sized mains with a necessary salad on the side to even out the heaviness. Out came the Saltimbocca first, which is a traditional Italian meat dish consisting of thin veal lined with prosciutto and topped with basil. So that’s basically meat wrapped with meat – need we say more?
But this was certainly not the only meat main. For all you meat lovers out there, tender Chargrilled Ribs with smoked herbs and Bistecca Tagliata with eggplant relish rocket, tomato and grana are both great meaty mains to appetise the stomach and please the soul. The ribs were, in fact, a common favourite amongst guests.
And for the pescatarians, Cicheti offered a massive dish piled up with fat, juicy and oh-so-tasty Chargrilled King Prawns, served with a side of saffron potatoes and topped with salsa verde. Each dish comes with 45 prawns and we were certainly not surprised there were leftovers. By this point, majority of us could barely move!
Vegetarian? Never to worry, Cicheti’s mains have you covered with a tasty stuffed capsicum dish as well.
After our mains, Cicheti were gracious enough to prepare takeaway boxes for those who, like ourselves, could not get enough of this exquisite Italian cuisine. Hello, tomorrow’s lunch!
But WAIT… There’s still more?! Yes, Cicheti brought out its final offering, a plate of fresh fruit including strawberries, rockmelon, honeydew melon, pineapple and watermelon for dessert. This was the perfect way to settle our stomachs, alongside a typical European tradition: after-dinner coffee or tea. I treated myself to a strawberry or two and relaxed into a hot cup of peppermint tea and honey to end my night. Delicious!
Cicheti was no doubt an experience and a half. Having just been over to the beautiful Italy ourselves, we’d go so far as to say Cicheti beat half the restaurants we experienced overseas in its very own mother country! The staff were so friendly and the family behind Cicheti were delightful and chatty – a true Italian family with the biggest hearts. These guys aim to please their customers first and foremost and, believe us, they certainly do.