Bucci is one of the great new restaurants that has burst onto the James Street food scene.
It's a bit of a turn around - instead of Sydney or Melbourne chefs opening up a wow new place and delighting locals, here we have a restaurant operator and chefs from Far North Queensland, Port Douglas in fact, heading south to strut their stuff - and it works.
Bucci is everything you want in a restaurant (apart from one issue which I'll discuss later). The menu is fresh and inviting; the food has fabulous, authentic flavours; the wine list is interesting with reasonable prices; you can see the kitchen working hard to turn out your meal; staff are friendly, polite and efficient; there's a great bar as part of the restaurant and there's even parking upstairs.
We visited on a busy Saturday night and the place was bursting with diners having a great time. There were some couples and families having a feed but most of the tables were filled with single sex groups of bright young things having fun, probably before heading out to the Valley nightclubs. Well at least they would have had something good in their stomach.
The decor at Bucci is particularly appealing and it also provided some unexpected amusement for us. There's a truly fabulous expensive chandelier hanging over the main table - I know because I foolishly priced it at St Barts around the corner. But it hangs low and we were taking bets as diners rose from the table over who would hit their head on it. Most did.
The mouth-watering food is straight from the cuccina of head chef Shaun Malone. Bucci Brisbane is the sister of Bucci in Port Douglas, where Shaun was head chef for three years before moving to Brisbane with wife Tanja, who is general manager of the James Street venue. The inspiration behind Bucci Brisbane is Spencer Patrick, partner and executive chef behind both the Bucci group and Harrisons Restaurant Port Douglas.The on-ground team comprises Shaun Malone as head chef, Tanja Malone as general manager, and Dario Sirotti as restaurant and bar manager.
Their credo is working with producers who practise a 'paddock to plate' approach to recreate the freshness of traditional Italian dishes by sourcing organic, local, free range and sustainably farmed bird, beast, fish and plant products wherever possible.
I was a bit gob smacked by the menu as there were too many things I wanted to try - how to choose? Best fixed by a return visit I think.
Anyhow - here's what we ate.
|Aranchini Funghie taleggio- Porcini & field mushroom risotto balls filled with Taleggio|
|Bucci Parmingiano - Marinated Parmigiano Reggiano (24-36mth)|
with lemon thyme honey, balsamic & grissini
|Crispy quails, sticky pear vin cotto, pistacchio & pancetta crumble|
|Porchetta in insalata - Crispy Bangalow pork belly salad, apples, hazelnuts & garden greens|
|Maltaglianti in salsa di congiglio - Homemade rag pasta with braised wild rabbit, tomato caper &|
|Bombolini - Italian doughnuts, spiced fennel sugar, dark chocolate,|
Aperol & orange marmalade
Now what's my issue? Noise. We visited on a cold winter's night which meant the wrap around glass windows were closed. This was good to keep out the cold but it also kept in the noise. I thought maybe it was just me, but I managed to hear the table next door complain about the noise as well.
Bottom line: If you don't like noisy dining, avoid peak dining times.
Best tip: Don't miss the on site parking available while on site, accessed from the back and up the ramp.
Have you hit your head on the Bucci chandelier yet? You are probably not cool until you have. :)
Disclaimer: E,d+bK paid for this meal.