Down by the shores of Bronte Beach, locals are already onto a secret. Bronte Cucina, which opened its doors just prior to Christmas is wooing diners with Italian cuisine using the freshest produce.
Located next to sister restaurant Swell, Bronte Cucina has a European feel with indoor/outdoor seating opposite the beach. Inside, a painted mural with pickled olives, capsicums, artichokes in jars and chianti bottles are at home with the colourful seascape that give the intimate restaurant a summery outlook.
Bronte Cucina Mural
Chef Alessandro Cola, previously of Pendolino and Cipri, has created a menu of authentic, rustic Italian dishes that sing the flavours of the freshest produce. When Owner/Restaurateur Sandy Bruns met Alessandro last year for a role at Swell, she was immediately taken with his cuisine and created Bronte Cucina to showcase his talents.
By daytime, the intimate restaurant has a relaxed beachside feel amongst the surrounding buzzy cafés. As the sun goes down, a romantic mood sets in with flickering candles on white tables, the smell of the sea, the ocean breeze in the hair and the sound of rolling waves.
A glass of chilled Sam Miranda Arneis is a good choice to start while perusing the menu which is divided into appetisers, entrees, pastas and mains. Dessert are hand-written on a framed chalk board.
Start with a Caprese Salad, Alessandro’s way ($18), simple, light and fresh, with Buffalo mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and basil dressed in olive oil.
Figs, Prosciutto, Gorgonzola
Fresh figs wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with Gorgonzola sauce on a balsamic reduction ($18) are a winning combination. The dish makes use of the ripe and sweet fruit currently in season.
From the entree selection comes the pan-fried cuttlefish strips on pea puree, tomato and squid ink crumb ($20). Delicate curls of soft cuttlefish, lightly sautéed sit on top of a smooth pea purée which doesn’t overpower the flavour of the cuttlefish. Micro herbs and tomatoes complete the look of dish and the sprinkling of squid ink crumbs adds texture and another element which makes this dish immediately a favourite and worthy of an encore.
Kingfish carpaccio with onion, olive tapenade, capers and raspberry vinegar ($20) is fresh and zesty. The pickled Spanish onions work very well with the sliced fish, adding a balance of flavour to the citrus notes.
Spinach tagliolini ‘Primavera’
All pastas are made in house and available in both entree and main size servings. The spinach tagliolini ‘Primavera’ with micro vegetables and Crystal Bay prawns ($26) is another favourite with a great balance of flavours.
Equally delicious is the thyme pappardelle with duck ragout and porcini mushrooms ($26) with crisp sage leaves, a dish that is hearty, satisfying with an earthy flavour.
Swordfish alla Catalana
Swordfish alla Catalana with grilled eggplant ($32) is a generous sized serving, and a complete meal in itself. The pan-seared fish is moist and flaky and sits on top of eggplant with crisp snake beans, heirloom tomatoes, capers and pickled Spanish onions. The sweetness from the eggplant goes well with the fish, and the capers add a savoury element to the dish.
Pork loin saltimbocca
Pork loin saltimbocca with mustard fruit, fresh plum and red cabbage salad ($34) is another winner, with tender and flavoursome pork with a herbed skin, a mix of finely shredded cabbage topped with flakes of cheese, cubed jellied apples and pistachios for texture.
Broccolini with anchovy butter
From the side dishes, broccolini with anchovy butter and toasted almonds ($9) is the pick, with a mild anchovy flavour in the greens.
Raspberry mille foglie
Dessert can be a tough choice. For a light option, choose the raspberry mille foglie with berry compote and raspberry sorbet ($15) with wafer thin discs making up the pastry. The yoghurt mousse keeps it light, and the star anise in the compote cuts through the sweetness. Overall, it is a delightful dessert and one not to be shared.
Chocolate tart with coffee gelato
The chocolate tart with coffee gelato, vanilla inglese and praline ($15) is a divine marriage of rich chocolate and coffee on a crunchy tart base that is set to please devout chocoholics.
Bronte Cucina is a discovery you like to keep to yourself. The first visit makes a lasting impression tempting you to return for what quickly becomes your favourite dishes. Parking can be a challenge and parking inspectors roam the area but the 378 bus runs regularly and drops you outside the restaurant.
With its beachside location, al fresco dining, a friendly and casual vibe with a touch of romance at night, it is the place to go to for a leisurely dinner, a first date or a date night.
465 Bronte Road,
Ph: 02 9386 5666
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