Just Open: Cucina & Co, Brighton

Cucina & Co in Brighton.
Cucina & Co in Brighton. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Riccardo Bianchini (ex-DOC Mornington, DOC Albert Park, Caffe e Cucina), along with partners Peter Aloi (Caffe Duomo) and Peter Kisvarda, brings his sunny Sicilian flair to Brighton with his latest venture, Cucina & Co.

Situated at the base of a new apartment complex, the simple space makes a feature of the open kitchen, textured black marble bar and wooden chairs painted in cheery white and cobalt blue, and segues seamlessly into the outdoors with a nifty bench and pavement seating.

The unfussy menu features Italian classics, from house-made pasta to polpette, with an emphasis on pizza made with a yeast-free, 72-hour raised dough and cooked in a three-tonne wood-fired oven.

Margherita pizza at Cucina & Co.
Margherita pizza at Cucina & Co.  Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

There's an easy, irreverent vibe to the place – specials are projected on to the back wall, and Italian movies play in the bathrooms.

The signature gnocchi al datterino is a sensationally minimalist dish of gnocchi doused in a tomato sauce. There's Lavazza on the grinders and an all-Italian wine list from sommelier Sabino Matera that goes beyond the usual suspects.

Open Mon-Thu 3pm-10.30pm; Fri noon-10.30pm; Sat-Sun 9am-10.30pm.

325 New Street, Brighton, 03 9530 5324