It’s a cold december night when we enter Cucina Chanti in West-Utrecht. And as cold as it is outside, that’s how warm the atmosphere is inside.
On the menu you’ll find the true Italian classics and a compact wine menu with a bunch of unexpected names. To leave the chefs some creative space, Cucina Chanti also offers a weekly changing 4-course menu for 25 euros.
Traditional and creative
The more I hear about Cucina Chanti’s mission, the more I understand how they can offer their dishes for such a pleasant price. Back to the tradition of food: what we can make ourselves, we do ourselves and be creative with what others might throw away, waste nothing.
The 4-(5-)course menu
We decide to go for the 4-course menu to see what beauty will appear on our table! But first: wine. If there’s time, the staff will gladly come by your table to let you taste their wines. ‘We can recommend you a wine, but in the end you will have to like it!’ And like it we do. I pick a Chianti: a nice and light wine with a pronounced cherry flavor.
The first (extra!) dish we are served is a bruschetta with tomato, basil, red onion and olive oil. The bread was made with the left over pizza dough and is delicious, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. You can really taste that it’s homemade!
After this amazing start the second dish arrives: layered eggplant with provolone cheese and egg. A typical Sicillian dish that reminds one of the shutters on the windows of the island and takes about 20 hours to make! So of course it tastes delightful: a combination of creamy flavors with a touch of sour from the dried tomato sauce it’s served with.
As a third dish we get a beautiful plate of risotto made with langoustine broth and an interesting looking sea shell. This turns out to be a Dog Cockle, whose insides have been cut up with parsley and cheese au gratin. The cockle has a meaty texture, which makes it almost unrecognizable as seafood.
And then the main course arrives: a beautiful red piece of flank steak with shaved horseradish and homemade thyme oil, served with roasted cauliflower with anchovy oil. The steak is wonderfully tender and the horseradish is an interesting but delicious addition to the dish.
Shortly after the main course a menacing jar of yellow liquid is hoisted onto our table. This turns out to be homemade limoncello in the making! A mixture of lemon peels of 30 lemons and 2 liters of pure alcohol. After three weeks water will be added and it will be a whopping 7 liters of homemade limoncello!
Sadly this delicious drink wasn’t done yet, so we got served another delicious dessert: caramelized pineapple with cardamom creme and biscotti. A fantastic cherry on top of a delicious menu.
We finish the evening with a nice cup of tea, before heading out into the cold again to go home. It turns out to be easier than before, with a heart warmed with delicious food and beautiful stories.
Cucina Chanti | H.J. Schimmelplein 1 | www.cucinachanti.nl
tues – sun: 11.00 – 23.00