On saturday night my friends and I had a bit of a girls night out and pampering session starting off with a massage and spa day at the Hyatt Regency, followed by some always amazing cocktails at Ginger’s Bar topped off with an authentic Italian meal at Cucina Rustica.
We are a bunch of girls with varying food likes and dislikes and requirements, but on the Cucina Rustica menu, there really is something for everyone. It is a big restaurant with a big menu, which usually I’m not keen on, as I am of the opinion that you can’t replicate quality in such large menus, but I can honestly say that in general this is one place that has so far, on both my visits, proved this theory wrong.
We were eating quite late, so we didn’t go for a starter each but decided first of all to share some of the Pane all’aglio (Garlic pizza bread with tomatoes). It was tasty and light, with a great flavour of tomato and garlic, brilliant to share and pick at while continuing our endless gossip. There were a lot of other tempting starters which I am looking forward to trying when I drag hubby back sometimes soon.
Main course wise, there is an extensive list of pasta’s and risottos, some quite unusual, like the Fagottini ripieni di cinghiale – Parcels of fresh pasta filled with wild boar meat simmered with porcini mushrooms in a light cream sauce. There are also good choices of meat dishes including steak, lamb, veal and chicken.
The 5 of us all went for differrent things. I had the Tournedo Rossini – Extra mature fillet steak on a bed of crouton, topped with smooth pate and drizzled with a Madeira wine sauce. The steak was cooked really well, a perfect medium rare and the sauce was to die for. The crouton it sat on was a little tough and overcooked, but this was blotted out by the rest of the dish.
My friends went for the Cosciotto d’agnello alla menta – Slow braised lamb shank cooked in garden vegetables, mint sauce and smooth mash potatoes, Bistecca di manzo ai ferri –
Chargrilled extra mature 8oz sliced sirloin steak on a bed of wild rocket lettuce drizzled in balsamic reduction vine tomatoes and parmesan flakes, Tagliatelle di castagne con anatra – Chestnuts tagliatelle pasta ribbons with succulent duck meat sun blushed tomatoes and mushrooms, finished with truffle oil sauce and the Cannelloni – Fresh pasta tubes filled with spinach & minced veal baked with tomato & mozzarella cheese.
The general consensus was that all the dishes were lovely. The lamb shank was absolutely gigantic, well cooked meats and pasta and tasty and flavoursome sauces all round. A resounding success.
When it came to pudding we couldn’t all manage it but a couple of my friends both went for the Italian Apple cake with Caramel sauce while I had the Chocolate Fondant.
There were a lot of appreciative noises coming from all round the table for the desserts! My only comment would be on the presentation. A little OTT? Have a look at the pics yourself and decide! We topped the meal off with a bottle of very reasonably priced Prosecco. Why not!
All in all, a great restaurant, bustling friendly atmosphere and good hearty food. Perfect for a Saturday night out and gossip with friends.
24 Ludgate Hill, Birmingham, West Midlands B3 1DX
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own