11/15 James Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
+61 7 3252 7848
Every now and then, I’d do day/overnight trips up to Brisbane. In my opinion, Brisbane is a bit of a strange city. It’s the capital city of Australia’s second largest state, yet has this feel of a large country town that hasn’t quite reached the heights of Melbourne or Sydney. Plus, the limited city parking space and lack of sea breeze does my head in, especially during summer.
As for the food scene? Well, I still have my training wheels on but ask me about Brisbane dining in another year or so and I might be able to get you a better answer. For now though, I’ll dedicate the next few posts on my (more likely than not) ignorant thoughts on Brisbane’s cafés and restaurants from an ex-Melburnian and current-Gold Coaster point of view.
First up: Bucci. It’s located amongst the trendy boutiques of James Street in Fortitude Valley which has got to be one of my favourite streets in Brisbane. I was there one weekend to look for a dress for an event I was going to attend in Melbourne and no way I was going to find something at Gold Coast’s Pacific Fair. I wasn’t having any luck so I decided to refuel at Bucci.
Bucci does contemporary Italian using local and seasonal produce. Throw in an extensive wine list (new world Italian with a few varietals from Australia), sleek décor and you pretty much have a recipe for a Brisbane Good Food Guide hat – at least in theory anyway. Bucci gets understandably busy on weekends but because I was dining solo, I was able to walk straight in without a reservation.
With a glass of S’Eleme Vermentino di Gallura 2012 ($12) in hand, I attacked my first dish – the entrée-sized bug cannelloni. It was one of the most decadent things I had eaten for quite some time and while it wasn’t bad, it was almost verging on try-hardness. Were truffles really necessary on an already rich dish? And I don’t know, the tomatoes just seemed out of place with all the cream, truffle and bug meat.
The waitress told me that the cannelloni alone was not going to fill me up and that I should order one more dish – lies, I was already bloody full after eating one of the cannelloni shells. Admittedly, the scallops were beautiful – even better than the cannelloni. The scallops were sweet, succulent and fresh and I loved how the crumbs added a lovely textural contrast. Next time, I’d probably order this to share with other people though because eating them all myself was a bit of an overkill.
It didn’t look like I ate that much but I walked out $60 poorer and with a food baby that rendered it almost impossible to fit into the Zimmermann dresses I ended up trying immediately after. While I know you’re paying for top ingredients, rent on James Street and better-than-average service, I felt that my meal erred on the ‘yeah nah, not the best value for money’ side. It was nice enough, but not THAT nice. Bucci has potential to be one of Brisbane’s best when it comes to modern Italian food but unfortunately it tries a bit too hard and gets maybe a couple of things right but not the whole package.