Celebrating their 1 year anniversary next month, Anthony’s Cucina + Pizzeria is a welcoming, homey establishment where the locals – and even staff – call their home away from home. Anthony’s Cucina has turned a new leaf and now with a new menu and head chef in play, the future is looking brighter than ever for this inner Campbelltown eatery. Owner and founder Anthony Troncone is a veteran in the industry and has worked in some of Adelaide's best restaurants. Now that the down-to-earth and loveable family man has a place of his own, the possibilities for Anthony and his crew are endless.
Teaming up with experienced and passionate Chef Michael Lapa has been great for the establishment thus far as both Michael and Anthony have big aspirations for the brand and innovative ideas for future menus. Michael’s execution so far has been quite inspiring, saying “it’s good to take the reigns and Anthony’s Cucina into a new direction, into the future.” The experience they’re aiming for is similar to childhood memories Michael explains, “like the one I had at home with my grandparents; home-style cooking, a full belly and smiling as you walk out the door, essentially that’s our target for our customers.”
Future dishes for springtime are expected to be fresh, seasonal and “something to keep the people coming back, to have a new experience every time they visit.” Luckily enough, we got to suss out some of these high quality ingredients that Michael himself has married together in an ultimate spring degustation. Our menu for the evening consisted of fancier renditions of dishes that’ll hop on board the Anthony’s Cucina menu and specials within the next few months – so keep your eyes peeled!
The atmosphere of Anthony’s is unique in its own right, and wakes all of your senses as you walk through the door; views of warm rustic furniture, smells of Italy coming from the giant wood-oven, sounds of laughter from happy customers, the feel of temperature perfection, and tastes of your own drool as you see a table having their fabulous food served. We sat in the booth and began our ‘Anthony’s Cucina Experience’ with the most necessary and staple item on any Italian menu: Antipasto – more specifically, the Salumi Piatto!
Slices of fresh proscuitto, capocollo, salami, mortadella, porchetta and cacciatore came with in-house roasted capsicum, marinated olives and grilled ciabatta. The perfect way to start any meal in a place like this and easy enough to share (unless you're me and throw alllll the proscuitto down the hatch). This masterpiece of meatery is currently available on the menu but be warned, it won't last long on the plate!
While sipping on a light, peachy glass of Willows Riesling, the 'crowd favourite' arrives: Arancini. These bad boys are a current menu item consisting of arborio rice, fresh peas and saffron a.k.a the greatest herb ever, paired with a truffle aioli you could bathe in. This bowl of arancini are the Gods of Entreé's; crunchy perfection on the outside, rice cooked perfectly, ripe peas with just enough saffron, popped in your gob with that sensational aioli - a real treat indeed!
Paired with a lovely light, flavoursome glass of Ricatto Chianti, if you wanna get some pork on your fork this is the dish for you. I guess it was actually the pig that huffed and puffed cause this dish blew me away! The portion is the exact size needed and each component brings individuality; tender shiitake mushrooms covered in bits of guanciale adds texture, the subtle sweetness of cauliflower puree balances the dish, while artichoke chips provide earthy-ness, and smoked pork glaze ties the dish up in sticky, salty marriage that made it *kisses fingers* bellissimo! The future of this meal will live mainly on the specials board, with a probability of pork belly due to unattainability and complexity of cooking cheek.
We were then presented with the marvellous feat that is the Pan-Seared Wagyu Porterhouse. Served medium-rare with a sneaky parcel, I named this dish the 'hero' of the night after only a few bites... because sometimes you can just taste the love and effort. This steak is the new standard; soft and easy to cut with a crisp outer and juicy centre layered with a rich Oxtail ragu in a crunchy lettuce parcel, chilled heirloom carrots and sticky, addictive spiced Oxtail jus, it's applause all 'round on this one! A glass of full-bodied, peppery and delicious Mitolo Sagrantino paired beautifully with this dish, and remains a great drop for anyone who appreciates it. Hats off to Michael and the team for pulling off an incredible top-quality dish presented impeccably with an even greater taste. Keep an eye out for a rendition of this dish next season, it's sure to be a sell-out!
To finish the night off we sipped on some Rockford Tawny and devoured - respectively - this Italian classic: Vanilla Galliano Panna Cotta layered with rosè jelly and Grand Mariner strawberries. And what a way to finish; the panna cotta was creamy and sweet, subtle rosè jelly gave the cool dish extra texture, and the ripest red strawberries I've ever had took it to another level. Good luck sharing this one folks! To make us literally roll out the door, we ended on a lovely cheese platter served with ricotta salata with black truffle, le pico French goat cheese, Spanish goat cheese and in-house made fig & pine nut jam. If you love your cheese - like most sane people - enjoy one after dinner or with wine and a friend!
An incredible and memorable experience overall, Anthony's Cucina + Pizzeria is sure to be recognised as the go-to Italian eatery amongst the Little Italy we call Campbelltown. Please support local and head to their website, Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news, special nights and upcoming dishes on offer. Anthony's Cucina is located at 683 Lower North East Road, Paradise and are open Tuesday to Friday 10:30am til late, Saturday & Sunday 8:30am til late.
I'd like to personally thank Michael, Anthony, and all the staff at Anthony's Cucina for their wonderful and friendly hospitality. It's easy to see why everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
All images via Alexia Frangos.