Cucina by Toscani's South Bank Brisbane
|Nutella and Ferrero Crunch Milk shake, with Chocolate Ganache, hazelnuts, vanilla bean ice cream and a dash of whipped cream.|
Toscani's has several restaurants in the greater Brisbane area, including Victoria Point, Riverlink, Loganholme and Carindale, and with a Robina outlet on the Queensland Gold Coast. It has been 18 years since Toscani founder Chris Maggachis commenced in Garden City.
Friday night at the South Bank outlet of Toscani's. Despite some long wait experiences I read in cyberspace media, my group of four adults and an infant did not encounter any issues with the service. I rather found the blonde haired staff interacting with us doing his best with customer engagement, even located in a touristy area after a long day. Did I find the Italian cuisine here watered down to suit the passing parade of South Bank visitors? Pasta, pizzas and the usual menu for a quick bite may have first given me some impressions I get from the Gold Coast places I usually avoid, but there is a difference at Cucina's here.
I reckon it is better than those obvious touristy places, the menu can be varied and I love the open kitchen concept. For breakfast, there is Primo bacon, fruit and fig loaf slices together with three variations of breakky - Mediterranean, Bubble & Squeak plus the Big Aussie. Lunchtime till 5pm has sandwiches with lamb, salmon, veg and grilled chicken variations. Little Stanley Burger is captivating, with garnishes of beetroot relish, Swiss cheese, onion rings, Chipotle Aioli, tomato, Dijon mustard and edible leaves accompanying the bacon and beef, with fried egg. I must say the last ingredient seems to be a current Brisbane thing - in NSW and Vic, it is the ever present poached eggs, often the 63 degree option.
|Seafood Paella from Cucina at Toscani's - with Chorizo, mussels, calamari, chicken and sauteed prawns.|
I enjoyed my Mango Smoothie whilst eyeing the Berry crush version ordered by one of my fellow diners. I dare say the Ferrero Crunch milkshake is a must, it looks and tastes awesome. I found the Spaghetti Marinara of good value, with a mouth watering sauce and fresh seafood of four types - scallops, mussels, prawns and calamari. The Hawaiian pizza, with smoked leg ham and pineapple on a Napoli base, was acceptable but I was diverted by the seafood Paella share plate for two persons.
My preconceptions were that Paella has to be orangey in colour, but again I may be missing something. The saffron rice here is of a different type and was not as fluffy in texture that I had hoped for. Still, the Chorizo provided an uplifting smokey and rewarding flavour to contrast with the seafood and chicken buried in the mix. This iconic Valencia and eastern Spanish coastal culinary delight ranks as one in the top list for me.
We did not have the marinated grilled Tiger Prawns - a rather Queensland thing - and the roasted beetroot, which is served with candied walnuts, broken goat's cheese, orange, baby spinach and Cavolo Nero. (bumpy leaved kale).
I found it good Cucina's here has Greek meatballs ( Keftedes with basil and accompanied by a cherry tomato salad drizzled with Tzitkizi, a Greek dip sauce made from strained yoghurt from sheep or goat, mixed with red wine vinegar, cucumber bits, salt, garlic, olive oil and Dill ); and the Italian Arancini rice balls (with Mozzarella cheese, olive, Aioli and tomato fillings), apart from the usual Antipastos, garlic and Bruschetta Pizzettas or grilled meat skewers.
|I love this version of a deep fried pizza like bread slice.|
The kids' menu even has Spaghetti Bolognaise - how thoughtful! In the adult section, eye catching are the New Zealand green lipped mussels (brewed with red wine and Napoli sauce and garnished with sauteed onions and garlic) and the Spanish styled braised pork (with capers, black olives and tomato sugo plus served with Chat potatoes).
My impressions of the Cucina by Toscani's at Southbank Brisbane:
Ambiance: 3.5 out of 5
Culinary: 3.5 out of 5
Customer Engagement; 3.5 out of 5
X Factor: 3.5 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
The Cucina by Toscani's visited is located at the corner of three streets - Little Stanley, Grey and Ernest - in the South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland.
Opening hours are from 730am to 1130pm from Sundays to Thursdays and from 730am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Contact +617 3846 1000