The quiet and possibly underperforming Cantina della Casa, the next-door off-shoot to Casa Ciuccio (which changed owners earlier in the year), was briefly closed and has been refurbished and has reopened as Ciuccio Cafe. I enjoyed lunch there during the original incarnation and it’s now offering a sophisticated breakfast and lunch menu that enticed me to return.
I had lunch there recently with a friend, who ordered the ham and cheese croquette salad, which features prosciutto, tomatoes, cos lettuce with a capsicum dressing and croquettes. Outrageously good was the description. I had the pulled pork and apple slaw burger with chilli mayo, which was equally good. The meat was intensely smokey and delicious.
I was less impressed once I got home and began to feel like I had been overcharged. The bill came to $45 and I had paid it without clarifying the details as it seemed plausible. But when I was reviewing the menu to write this review I added things up: burger ($15) + salad ($18) + coffee x 2 ($7) = $40. We were overcharged by $5. It may have been a mistake but ours was a very simple order. Addendum: after reading my review my dining companion confessed to having asked for an extra croquette (which was news to me) and she assumes this is what the extra $5 was for.
I was impressed by the food and the service was good apart from the bill error at the end. It’s good to see the new owners persevering with this venue as I think it has potential. On weekends there’s going to be increased competition nearby as the new Bar Marion is also offering breakfast. It all contributes to the improvement of the west end of Gertrude St, which is a good thing. I’d definitely return.