New Italian eatery, Cucina Porto, is now open at The Star Sydney, marking the first of several new dining destinations opening within the entertainment precinct over the next year.
Cucina Porto is a home-away-from-home for Italian Executive Chef Martino Pulito (ex-Pasta Emilia), serving honest Italian cuisine with an unpretentious spirit. Drawing on his heritage, Cucina Porto is a culmination of Pulito’s childhood memories; recreating his family table for guests to enjoy as they discover his favourite recipes, inspired by his home region of Puglia.
“It gives me great pleasure to present a menu inspired by my upbringing in Puglia. Much like at home, my dishes at Cucina Porto use just a handful of ingredients, most of which are sourced locally, to create honest, authentic and uncomplicated food that celebrates Italian culture. There are dishes my mother and nonna would make for Sunday lunch spent around the family table,” says Pulito. “At Cucina Porto I want families and friends to come together to experience a version of my Italian traditions and culture,” he adds.
With an authentic menu cooked in their partially open kitchen, each dish highlights exceptional local produce. Guests can expect classic Italian snacks, pizza, pasta – each plate delivered with care and passion synonymous with Italian cuisine. Familiar favourites feature alongside more adventurous options including a mussel and prawn saor with chardonnay sauce, spaghetti paired with slow-cooked octopus and gremolata, and Sottobosco Pizza made in their wood-fired pizza oven that heroes the humble brussels sprout (all under $30).
Located opposite the Sydney Lyric Theatre, the opening of Cucina Porto coincides with the arrival of Broadway musical, Pippin, signalling a return of theatre and entertainment to Sydney’s cultural scene after a devastating year. For theatre-goers, the bar menu is available until late and offers simple snack-style dishes, including Pizzetta Cacio e Pepe, Octopus Confit with salsa verde and ‘nduja crumb and Crisp Parmesan Chips amongst others.
At Cucina Porto, The Star’s award-winning bar manager Behzad Nvaziri has created a drinks list of fresh Italian classics, complete with a special Negroni progression menu – which will display the range of variations of Italy’s most popular cocktail, and how it evolved from the 1860s from two basic ingredients of Campari and Vermouth to the modern gin-heavy bitter beverage, known as a Negroni. The menu will feature six different takes of the Negroni throughout time, including the Bicicleta made up of dry white wine, Campari and soda.
House wines, curated by sommelier Addy Lam, showcase a selection of Italian and Australian produced Italian wines, traditionally served in a decanter.
The relaxed charm of Chef Pulito’s cooking echoes throughout the contemporary dining area, designed by award-winning interior architecture firm, Tom Mark Henry. Seating 170 patrons at full capacity, the interiors bring an old-world charm with a modern Italian sophistication. Featuring a mix of patterns and textures in pastel pinks, warm yellows, dark greens, deep maroons and brass gold finishings, the interiors create an element of eclecticism to the dining experience. The walls are layered with art and ceramics, along with open shelves, bringing a casual elegance to the restaurant. Cucina Porto also offers a Private Dining Room seating up to 12 guests, allowing for a more intimate and personal dining experience.
Open for lunch Friday to Sunday from 11am–3pm; dinner Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm–10pm.
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