I have to admire the owners of this place for their persistence and determination, especially with the second re-branding of the business. The cafe was originally Alfresco’s, specialising in Italian cuisine. The store then underwent a facelift and became Sliders on Rundle, which incorporated burgers and hot dogs to capitalise on Adelaide’s American fast food craving.
With the number of burger joints down and around Rundle Street, the competition is fairly tough and it only made sense to come up with something unique. The latest incarnation of the store is Cucina Forno. With the hams hanging over the counter area, it reminded me of Jamie’s Italian. The point of difference here are the clay pot dishes cooked in the wood oven. They also have your traditional Italian fare, which has always been the case. At lunch time, the dinner menu is available, as well as the addition of burgers, focaccias and paninis.
For lunch, I ordered the Wagyu Burger which had tomato, cheese, gherkin, lettuce and smokey barbecue aioli. The meal came out 15 minutes after ordering and was nicely presented. I just happened to have had the slider version of this burger when it was Sliders on Rundle. The ingredients were almost identical (minus bacon and add gherkin) and even the burger looked the same.
The beef patty was of a nice thickness and it had the same diameter as the bun. The meat was well marinated and juicy, however, it was slightly overcooked. The tomato slices were ripened and the lettuce was fresh and crisp. The gherkin was tangy and sour, while the aioli had a nice subtle smokey flavour. The shiny brioche bun was soft and firm, and it held all the ingredients in well.
The beer battered chips were very well cooked. They were nice and crunchy on the outside and had a soft and fluffy interior. A whole cluster of the chips were stuck together, but it didn’t matter, they were all going to end up in my mouth anyway.
Their newly created website states that lunch starts at 11:30am. Knowing this, I went down there at that time to beat the lunch time rush. I then get turned away by one of the waitresses who tells me lunch starts at noon. I know there can be communication problems between staff, but this certainly wasn’t a good start.
The staff were friendly and the service was little too attentive. The atmosphere was relaxed and the pricing was average. The cost of my burger was $17.90, which did include a side of chips. The clay pot tapas dishes start at $14.90, clay pot pasta from $18.90, wood oven pizzas from $18.90 and their wood oven dessert pizzas from $13.90.
Verdict: The burger was average and isn’t as good as what their nearby competitors offer.
WHERE: 260 Rundle St, Adelaide