Pizza and pasta has found a place in Adelaide’s very own Paradise at Anthony’s Cucina & Pizzeria, an authentic home-style Italian kitchen and pizzeria.
Opened three years ago and named after owner Anthony Troncone, Anthony’s Cucina recently won the award for Best Family Dining Restaurant at the SA 2018 Awards for Excellence.
My Kitchen Rules 2016 contestants Carmine and Lauren Finelli invited Adelaide Food Central for an evening of wining and dining Italian-style to try the revamped summer menu at Anthony’s Cucina.
The elaborate eighteen-dish degustation was divided into four categories: entrees, mains, pizzas and of course – dessert!
Our first entrée for the evening was the Antipasto platter, which is best suited to be shared between two to four people. With a bowl of mixed olives surrounding by grissini bread sticks as the centrepiece, this beautifully presented platter came with tongs for easy sharing. A variety of traditional meats were rolled and folded, including salumi, pancetta and ham. These tender cold meats paired perfectly with house-made preserved, pickled vegetables and thin slices of provolone cheese which melted in your mouth.
Although the Maiale was only meant to be an entrée, it quickly won over all of our hearts and deserved the status of a fully-fledged main meal. Topped with a sprinkle of crushed pine nuts and decorative greens were two generous slabs of pork belly, which were unbelievably tender and filled with juicy flavour. Round dollops of vivid orange apricot gel added a sweet touch to the dish, whilst the salty crackle was golden, crunchy and infused with hints of herbs such as sage.
Zucchini & Haloumi Fries
Adding twist to your standard bowl of chips, the Zucchini and Haloumi Fries were coated in a golden, crispy batter and mixed together in the same bowl so it was almost like a game of “lucky dip”. Served with a small bowl of lemon and mint aioli on the side, the zucchini filling was a soft light green whilst the haloumi cheese was stringy and melted in your mouth.
A traditional Italian staple menu item was the Polpette, a dish consisting of juicy pork and veal meatballs. Immersed in a rich tomato and basil sugo, the tender meat packed into each meatball was complemented by the Bolognese-like sauce.
Each bite into the golden batter of the Arancini ball revealed a soft and fluffy mixture of pea and ricotta cheese inside. At the centre lay provolone cheese, which seeped into the pea and ricotta mixture and saturated it with flavour. Served with a tomato and basil sugo on the side, these little balls certainly pack a flavoursome punch.
For our first main, we were served a seafood-based dish by the name of Cacciucco. Submerged in a garlic and chilli brother was a variety of seafood such as scallops, prawns and calamari rings, all of which soaked up the herbal juices of the surrounding broth. To balance the sea of seafood were tiny juicy cherry tomatoes and potato chucks, and a piece of chargrilled ciabatta bread to soak up the broth was placed on top for good measure.
Sitting atop a leafy green salad were skewers of char-grilled prawns, which contrasted the soft texture of the salad with a satisfying crunch. Scattered throughout the salad were slices of crispy prosciutto as well as fresh orange, which added a tangy sweetness to the dish. Drizzled with a chilli and lime dressing, the Gamberi is the perfect refreshing summer dish.
After consuming plenty of seafood, it was time for some duck in the Anatra dish! Placed atop a bed of green rocket and mesclun salad was a confit duck leg, coated in a tantalisingly tempting golden glaze. Throughout the salad were hazelnuts and green beans, adding a slight crunch to the leafy green mix. Surrounding the duck leg were pieces of grilled peach, which seemed strange at first but grew quickly on us all as it added a fruity sweetness to the dish. Topped with a dash of vino cotto and raspberry dressing, the sweet flavours of the dish complemented the slightly smokey flavour of the tender duck meat.
Riso e Salsiccie
Next we were served the Riso e Salsiccie, which was a beautifully presented risotto decorated with vibrant green fennel. Laying on top were two juicy pork sausages, which paired perfectly with the moist, creamy risotto when cut into smaller slices. Topped with chilli flakes that were not too overwhelming as well as ricotta cheese to add a creamy element, this dish will be the perfect winter-warmer as the weather begins to cool.
Calamarata Alla Marinara
We were then overcome with a wave of pastas to greet us, starting with the Calamarata Alla Marinara. This thick ring pasta came with market fresh seafood ranging from scallops to prawns, all of which was brought together with a hint of chilli, cherry tomatoes and a dressing made from extra virgin olive oil and white wine.
Yet another seafood lover’s pasta paradise was the Linguine Grachio, which came with a linguine pasta mixed with flavoursome morsels of blue swimmer crab. Tiny chilli flakes and juicy cherry tomatoes were thrown into the mix for good measure, all of which was brought together with a unique rose-infused thick pasta sauce.
Our last pasta for the evening was the Penne Salsiccia, which combined soft penne pasta with minced pork and fennel sausage. Cherry tomato, roast capsicum and olives added a refreshing touch to the meat-based dish, topped with chilli flakes and a generous layer of melted parmesan cheese.
No authentic Italian feast is complete without a spread of pizzas galore! For all those meat-lovers out there, the Salumi pizza incorporated the delicious herbal flavour of cacciatore pepperoni with a thick tomato sugo layered over the fluffy pizza dough base. Topped with olives, chilli flakes and melted mozzarella cheese, this pizza showcased Italy’s signature meats which are the perfect pizza toppings!
Contadino “The Farmer’s Pizza”
Also known as “The Farmer’s Pizza”, the Contadino was almost like garlic bread in pizza form. The garlic and mozzarella base was creamy and created large stringy trails with every bite. Topped with small chunks of potato, mushroom and rosemary, this was the kind of pizza that you’d see served up in a homestead on a faraway farm.
Being in Anthony’s Cucina, we just had to try Anthony’s pizza which he named after himself, of course! Like the supreme pizza dreams are made of, Anthony added all his favourite ingredients of ham, salami, mortadella, pickled green tomato, mushroom and mozzarella to create a signature dish he was proud to put his name on!
Last but not least was dessert or ‘dolci’, which we certainly struggled to make room for after a feast of fifteen savoury dishes. Anthony’s Cucina have a rotating Panna Cotta flavour, and since the festive season was well and truly upon us we tried their Christmas Black Forrest flavour. The panna cotta itself was made from a rich chocolate cream, melting in your mouth and leaving you savouring every last bite. Surrounded by a Morello cherry compote and topped with a mint leaf, this dish a gift wrapped in flavour to be the perfect piece of indulgence.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Laying atop a layer of chocolate icing spread along the plate was a generous slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake. A scoop of vanilla gelati and strawberries on the side add a coolness to the warmth of the fluffy chocolate cake. Topped with icing sugar to look like a sprinkle of festive snow, this dish it the perfect gluten-free dessert option.
Last but most certainly not least was the Tiramisu, which came as a generous square that showcased the endless layers of flavour within. Tiers of traditional coffee and chocolate tiramisu were followed by layers of deliciously creamy Strega cream. Surrounding by fresh strawberries and topped with chocolate chips and a sprinkle of icing sugar, the chocolate, coffee and cream layers combine to create an alcohol-infused dessert that captures the essence of the word indulgence.
Coming all the way from Malta, HeaC chef Angela Caruana transported us all the way to Europe and provided us with a slice of authentic Italy with her tremendous cooking skills.
Located on Lower North East Road in Paradise, Anthony’s Cucina is open for dinner Tuesday – Sunday 5:30pm – 9pm and lunch on Fridays from 12pm – 3pm. On weekends, lunch is also served from 8:30am – 3pm.
Words by Tayla Giles
WHERE: 683 Lower North East Rd, Paradise