Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SJM restaurant review - Cicciolina, St Kilda

SJM Real Review WITHOUT the Fluff! 
Restaurant review - Cicciolina, St Kilda 
Cicciolina is an iconic St Kilda institution. This cosy and romantic restaurant, captures the vibe of Acland Street with a touch of little Italy. After recently honeymooning in Italy for 5 weeks, my standards for Italian food have been raised! – watch out Melbourne restaurateurs! 
VENUE: unfortunately they do not take bookings. However, there is the Back Bar, with booth and bar seating while you wait. There is an extensive wine list, cocktails and antipasto plates available here. The restaurant itself is energetic and yet cosy. Even though my elbows were almost touching the diner next to me, I still felt we could enjoy a private and romantic dinner.
FOOD, WINE & PRICE: Cicciolina’a menu is European and modern Australian. Mains are priced between $25 – $35. They currently hold One Hat in the The Age Good Food Guide for 2012. For my entre I had the Soufflé of blue swimmer crab meat, shallot and lemon thyme served on a champagne and chive veloute, $20.50 – it was to die for! I am not a ‘big seafood person, but I love crab meat and shallots. For main I couldn’t go past the beef (always a sucker for a good steak!). It was a premium eye fillet chargrilled to order and served with a roasted potato fondant, wilted spinach and a basil and olive oil paste, $40.50. It was perfecto! I consider myself quite the ‘steak connoisseur’ (*said with a snootie English accent and raised brows!), but, in all seriousness, this dish was amazing. 
SJM TIP: ladies, live and drink like a true Italian! Order a glass of the Canella Prosecco – almost as good as French champagne (and ¼ of the price!)

SERVICE: the wait staff in the restaurant knew their menu and wine list well. They were attentive and thorough at all times, without smothering us (my pet peeve!). Unfortunately, in the Back Bar, they fell short regarding professionalism and service. Not only did we have to listen to two staff members whinging about working, but they had run out of olives (my fave!). Luckily for them, the main room wait staff made up for their average service and poor stock-take skills!
OVERALL SCORE & COMMENTS: 8/10 – this is a great dining experience for a romantic ‘date night’, especially on a cold Winter’s night. The food is rich and fresh in flavour. They have nailed the presentation without being overly flamboyant, staying true to their roots. I was disappointed with the service in the Back Bar, but it did not really detract from my overall dining experience. 
REMEMBER! They do not take bookings. If you want to be seated more or less immediately, arrive early, around 6pm. If you can hold on for a later supper, arrive around 9-9.30pm. Alternatively, when you arrive ensure your name/number is down on the waiting list and enjoy a pre-drinner drink/nibbles.


1 comment:

  1. love cicciolinas! waiting for a table eating olives and drinking italian wine was just as delightful as eating in the main restaurant x