Cucina Vivo is the newly opened Italian Restaurant in the Jupiters Casino complex. Inspired by the cliff top restaurants along the Amalfi Coast, Cucina Vivo features indoor and outdoor dining which overlooks the newly renovated pool terraces.
Although the restaurant occupies a large space it manages to feel welcoming and relaxed. The centrepiece of the indoor dining is a huge 2 metre long woodfired oven which was in high demand. I couldn’t help be lured over to the oven. I watched as the pizza’s were being prepared then placed in the oven to cook.
We were shown through to our table on the terrace. The friendly waitress explained the menu and told us that absolutely everything was made from scratch, in house. She noted that we had already witnessed the pizza making, and she told us all the varieties of pasta on the menu were also made on the premises.
I was suitably impressed. There is nothing quite like freshly made pasta. I soon learned that the kitchen also made their own preserved vegetables for the antipasto platter and pizza’s, cured their own meats and made their own cheese. Absolutely everything in the restaurant was made in an authentic Mediterranean home kitchen style.
The preserves were on display in beautiful jars through out the restaurant. There was an absolute abundance of colourful varieties of pickles to be seen and it gave the restaurant a real homely feel.
We decided to order drinks whilst we reviewed the menu. Alesah chose the “Just in Thyme” cocktail and I had a glass of sparkling wine. The cocktail included gin, green chartreuse, lavender and thyme with a sugar syrup. It was deliciously herby and sweet, with a clean fresh flavour.
After admiring all the pickled vegetables we simply had to try the Antipasti de salumiere. This was a selection of the pickled vegetables, house cured meats, homemade pate of spicy, minced pork meat, breads and a house made provola cheese. The flavours on the board were a revelation. Crunchy pickled cauliflower and various colours of pickled heirloom carrots were partnered with the rich cured meats perfectly. Fennel, artichoke, eggplant, roasted tomato, mushroom and olives were also featured on this large and diverse antipasti platter. It was the perfect starter to share, and the generous serving could have easily served a table of four.
Wagyu beef appears twice on the menu. We ordered the “Polpette al Sugo.” Oven braised wagyu beef meatballs in a rich, chunky Italian style tomato sauce. The meat was so moist and juicy and simply melted in my mouth. I was surprised the balls even managed to stay together as they cooked, they were so delicate. I was told the meatballs were made from 7 score way which is very impressive and also explains the unbelievable flavour and texture. Topping the dish was a strong, sharp parmesan cheese which lifted the flavours of the dish even further.
The other Waygu dish is described on the menu as the “Butter Knife Steak.” Its tenderness is said to be unrivalled by any other steak. It has a 9+ Wagyu score which is only possible from a full blooded Wagyu. The steak is so tender it can be cut with a butter knife, hence the name!
We had ordered some serious culinary dishes but who can go past simple Calamari Fritti? Thin strips of calamari were lightly coated in a salt and pepper batter and fried until light and crispy. I found myself munching one after another! The calamari was so tender and dipped in the creamy lemon, dill, aioli it was a taste sensation.
I am having a love affair with gnocchi at the moment so when I noticed Gnocchi Trifolati on the menu I knew I would be all over it! The gnocchi was being served with an assortment of sautéed wild mushrooms in a creamy sauce. The aroma of truffles wafted passed my nose as the dish was set before us. The dish held such a deep, rich, earthy aroma and flavour. I could see so many varieties of mushrooms in the sauce! The gnocchi would have to be the softest, most delicately textured gnocchi I have tried to date. I didn’t even feel I needed to bite these delicious little pillows. They had been finished by pan frying in butter and the dish was freshened with marjoram then given a generous dressing of truffle!! The soft gnocchi soaked up all the truffle and sauce flavours. Mmmm….
I had the opportunity to speak briefly with the chef responsible for my fluffy little pillows of joy and he told me the gnocchi was a labour of love. I had to compliment him profusely, as this really was the best gnocchi I have tried. He seemed happy with my words although he didn’t give me any tips as to how I could improve my own gnocchi making technique. He did tell the mushroom sauce takes most of the morning to prepare. Although it’s a simple recipe, he said prepping all the varieties of mushroom was very labour intensive. I know I will be back for more!
As the food began arriving at our table I noticed we hadn’t ordered any greens. After taking a quick look at the side dishes we ordered a side of broccolini served with a lovely sharp parmigiano cheese and sliver of chilli. The dish had also been sautéed in olive oil and garlic making it a particularly delicious side dish.
All eyes were on us, as the Cioccolato Rosso Ferrari dessert was brought to our table. The Ferrari dessert is Cucina Vivo’s signature dessert. A Ferrari red chocolate sphere it brought to the table. The sphere has a cavity in the middle. The waiter pours a grappa infused chocolate sauce into the cavity. When the sauce hits the dry ice the theatrics commence and everyone in the restaurant stops to watch! If you think the presentation is pretty special wait until you try the dessert!
The dessert doesn’t just rely on the stunning presentation. Once the outer shell is cracked a deliciously creamy stracciatella ice cream dome on a pistachio crostata is revealed. The dessert is very popular, and its easy to see why, it’s visually spectacular and tastes absolutely decadent.
Also on the dessert menu is the trio of gelati. Guest can choose three flavours of gelato from the range. I guess it should be no surprise by now that all the gelato is made by the talented chefs in the restaurant. I would have loved to try some of the flavours, but due to a lack of tummy space that will have to wait for another visit.
The last item to be ordered was a pizza to go! I ordered a Ciccia Pizza for the children who were being looked after upstairs in one of Jupiter’s newly refurbished rooms. The pizza had a lovely crisp crust and showcased the kitchens cured meats and cheese beautifully.
I’ve had such a great dining experience at Cucina Vivo Restaurant. I’m really looking forward to bringing the family back on my next visit. The restaurant atmosphere is perfect whether your dining with a group of friends or the family. The staff were fantastic, warm, friendly and seemed genuinely happy chatting with diners. The food is is good, honest authentic Italian served with flair and finesse!
Oh and watching the Italian pizzaiolo at work was rather nice as well. Is it just me, or does everything sound sexy with an Italian accent?
Cucina Vivo RestaurantJupiters Hotel & Casino
Broadbeach Island Broadbeach, QLD 4218
Ph:07 5592 8100