Cecchi’s is absolutely wonderful. The white washed walls of the establishment melt into the hubbub that is Beaufort St (Inglewood side), and it’s quite easy to miss. The place itself is a brightly lit, elegant restaurant with timber floorboards, white tablecloths and silver cutlery suggesting the interior of an upper market fine dining restaurant. It looks deceiving small on the outside, but there are a good number of tables inside what was obviously once a small house. Renovations to the al fresco area were still going on when a friend and I dined there on the Thursday night, but they had taken a brief hiatus to take care of their dining clientele.
We were seated at a small table next to the wall and given an extensive drinks menu. The food menu itself is predominantly Italian cuisine, with a small list of starters (shared food), entrees, mains and sides. The house-made pastas were available in entrée and main sizes, and all sounded delicious.
We stuck with tap water to start and ordered a selection of entrees and mains. Not long after, we were presented with on the house Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup. Complimentary soup – score! The pumpkin soup came with a splash of olive oil and had a creamy consistency, with its trademark nuttiness accentuated by the chestnut. Delicious – we could have had a few more bowls of it!
We shared an entrée of Stracci di Pasta ($25), stacci’s direct translation being rag pasta (named this, I suppose, due to the pasta itself resembling torn pieces of rags). The pasta was cooked al dente – perfect. It came with spots of goat’s cheese, slices of cooked pear, tomatoes and herbs. There was a floss of dehydrated fried lamb on the top, which was nice textually to change-up the typical pasta dish. However, there was an overabundance of the dehydrated lamb marking almost every bite with a hard crunch. The combination of fresh tomatoes, goat’s cheese and pear was ingenious – a soft acidity from the cheese complimented the fresh sweetness of the tomatoes and pears. The dish was garnished with slices of radish and micro herbs.
A main size of the Braised Rabbit + Porcini Mushroom Ragu with Pappardelle ($34) came out soon after our entrees were cleaned up. The pasta was, once again, perfectly cooked. The ragu was thick and creamy, embedded with tender pieces of braised lamb, mushroom and carrot. It was exquisitely flavoured and quite a homely moreish dish. It was scattered with micro herbs and flakes of Parmigiano cheese. My kind of pasta dish!
A main size of the Pork Loin, Prosciutto, Pork Belly, Chestnut, Apples and Gnocchi ($34) was my favourite of the night. The pork loin was succulent and so deliciously tender. The pork belly had its special crackling, the chestnut was a velvety puree on the floor of the dish, acting almost like a gravy to the pork. The apples were just cooked, adding a lovely sweetness to the dish. The gnocchi (while scant on the dish) had retained its pan-fried crispness on the outside and was beautifully velvety inside. So very good.
Dessert options were provided to us verbally and as I have the memory of a goldfish, the prices of them escaped my mind. They were about ~$15 each, but one thing was for certain – they tasted amazing. The kumquats with panacotta (~$15) included a gelatinous blob of cooked cream, which was silky smooth and deliciously infused with vanilla. The kumquats tasted like orange flavoured jelly Jubes. They were sticky and heaped in bite sized pieces across the plate. There was a pile of cookie crumble on the plate to add some crunch. A decent dessert!
The Doughnuts (~$15) were sublime. Typical doughnuts are light and fluffy on the inside, but Cecchi’s version was more reminiscent of Italian ricotta – soft, creamy and moist on the inside, almost like a smooth paste withholding a few bready crumbs. They had a delicious deep-fried exterior, heavily coated with cinnamon sugar. Alongside was a cube of semifreddo, icy upon first contact but melted like mousse once inside the mouth. There was a good hit of crumbly chocolate soil to add an additional munch factor. The best part was that it came with a china flask of molten dark chocolate ganache, which I swallowed by the spoonful (after drizzling my doughnuts with them of course). What a treat!
I had been a bit worried about the serving sizes of Cecchi’s after reading various reviews, but I have to say that while Cecchi’s dishes are not piled high with food, their dishes display a certain finesse, demonstrating particular care towards upholding the quality and integrity of Italian cuisine. It’s Italian food done with an inventive twist, and I look forward to trying more of their ever evolving menu in the future. Service was top-notch too – polite, efficient and professional. The waiter who served us made sure our glasses were topped up and gave us rounds of pepper when requested. With lovely food and a classy atmosphere, this is going to be a must-go for Beaufort Street foodie explorers.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
- Cecchi’s is open lunch (Wednesday to Saturday) and dinner (Tuesday to Saturday).
- I went to Cecchi’s a while back and they now have a new December menu on offer. Check out their Facebook page for further information!
- It’s quite easy to miss Cecchi’s when you drive past (it’s a smallish, rustic looking, white building wedged in between two other stores), but parking is plentiful on the side streets just behind it.
- Newly furnished courtyard now available for casual outside dining.
- Reservations available.