Today I headed into Birmingham for lunch at Cucina Rustica Italian restaurant. Cucina Rustica is based in the Jewellery Quarter, which is about a 10 minute walk from New Street train station and Grand Central shopping centre. They serve authentic Italian food in a relaxed, bar-like atmosphere. Their cocktails are pretty good too!
When we arrived, we were given a copy of the large Cucina Rustica menu and their smaller specials menu. We were also treated to a basket of bread and olives whilst we browsed the menus. I went for the Funghi con Panna starter, which is a simple but tasty dish of sautéed mushrooms in a garlic, parsley and cream sauce. This was served with some lovely crunchy Italian toasts.
My friend had the Caprino con Pera – grilled goat’s cheese on a crispy crouton with spiced pear and crushed walnuts. This was fabulously presented and my friend really enjoyed it. So much so that I think I’ll order it next time I go.
Cucina Rustica Mains
I have a confession about Italian restaurants. I love Italian food but if there is pizza on the menu, I seem to be subconsciously drawn to it. I’ve never been to an Italian restaurant that had pizza on the menu and not ordered it. Today was no exception. I decided on the Romana pizza. With its thin base and generous topping, this is the perfect vegetarian pizza. It had mixed vegetables, pecorino cheese, tomato sauce and fresh rocket on top. My only complaint was that I could have done with a sharper knife to cut the crust but it tasted divine.
My friend went for the tuna steak with a tomato and vegetable sauce from the specials menu, which she raved about. She asked for it to be cooked rare and was delighted that it was prepared exactly to her taste.
Cucina Rustica Desserts
I have to admit I struggled a little bit with the dessert menu. Choosing just one thing was painful despite being pretty full from the previous courses! However, I eventually decided on pear poached in red wine, served with Amaretto ice cream. It was the right decision! Having seen the poached pear in the starter, I couldn’t resist it a second time.
My friend went for the chocolate fondant, which also came with ice cream. When she cut into it, the rich, chocolately middle oozed out – perfect. This is another dish that gave me a bit of food envy and I want to try it next time.
When I arrived at Cucina Rustica, I gave them the name for our booking and we were shown to our table. The waitress brought us menus and gave us a few minutes to decide on drinks. We weren’t ready when she came to take our drinks order, so she was happy to give us a bit longer. The waitress even recommended some cocktails as I still hadn’t decided when she came back again!
Throughout the meal, the staff were pleasant and available. They regularly checked how our food and drinks were and made sure we were happy with our meal. The service was excellent throughout, and I was particularly impressed when I chatted to the manager at the end. The staff had been completely unaware that I was reviewing the restaurant (it seemed a bit of a surprise to the manager too) so the excellent level of service is clearly the same for all customers.
For more information about Cucina Rustica including their opening hours and menus, head to their website.