AJ and I rarely venture across the Tasman bridge except for journeys to the airport. However, Bellerive is home not only to cricket matches and the odd football game. It is home to Cugini, a intimate Italian restaurant that is adjacent to the Bellerive yacht club.
The menu is extensive covering pizza, pasta, mains and desserts. There is a decent range of quality Australian and Italian wines and beers. Modern furniture and casual dining are some ways to visualise the experience within your minds eye. Friendly staff who know their menu and specials well add to the enjoyment of your dinner.
I decided on pasta with a creamy gnocchi dish and AJ set her aim on a pepperoni pizza.
The gnocchi was bite sized and enveloped in a creamy Gorgonzola sauce with tender chicken and soft mushrooms.
The pizza had a crispy base and just slightly thick for my liking. The sauce was rich, the pepperoni spicy and amplified by fresh chilli slices adorning the dish.
Next came dessert: I decided to sample the tiramisu and AJ picked the donut.
The tiramisu was slightly sweet which sent the coffee flavour to the background. Some palettes may enjoy this but I thought it detracted slightly from the usually tiramisu experience. The donut was beautifully soft with a crisp sugared crust. Inside was a buttery peanut ice cream and marinated raspberries. A lashing of rich chocolate sauce sealed the deal with this dish.
Cugini really delivers by taking their diners through some traditional Italian fare with modern flavours and fresh ingredients. There were plenty of other menu choices which appealed so we'll be back to visit this eastern shore eatery soon!