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Cucina Vivo – Serious Food & Serious Fun

Why do we love Italian food so much? Is it the comfort or the pleasant buzz from the naturally-occuring MSG in tomatoes and Parmesan cheese? Is it because we feel nurtured when the pasta and pizza is hand made? Or is the joy and laughter that is part of breaking bread and sharing polpette al sugo – la tavola?

As part of stage one at the Gold Coast’s Jupiters Casino $345 million upgrade, Cucina Vivo is a bright and breezy Italian restaurant that cleverly overlooks the pool. You could quite easily forget you’re on the GC; it’s not Positano but you get the idea.

Cucina Vivo This Magnificent Life

The design by Luchhetti Krelle features a lot of blonde wood and white tile, with colour from the enormous jars of giardinera pickled in the restaurant. Day or night, it is filled with the constant and pleasant clinking of glasses and oohs and aahs as pizzas, meatballs, gelati and more reach the tables. The monolithic Neapolitan wood-fired oven does double duty on some of the meat and fish dishes providing wondrous smoky flavour.

Cucina Vivo This Magnificent Life

Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Allan may not be Italian but with a CV that includes Sydney favourites Garfish and Lucio’s, his Italian cred is sound.

He wants diners to share and enjoy traditional dishes that undoubtedly would get a nod from Nonna. Cucina Vivo was recently honoured with the Queensland Hotel Association’s Best Restaurant ‘Accommodation Division’ Award.

Jeremy Allan explains his approach to food – his passions and his delicious favourites…

Cucina Vivo This Magnificent Life

We sample the pizzaiola’s delicious Schiaccata – garlic flatbread with pesto Genovese and extra parmesan. Antipasti and Salads run from a light but generous Calamari Fritti with a frisée and dill aioli, a selection of salami and giardinera as well as a simple Caprese salad with only the best heirloom tomatoes, buffalo milk mozzarella and basil.

Cucina Vivo This Magnificent Life

We dined a little earlier in the year when Jeremy and his team were showcasing the versatility of Tasmanian Perigord truffles. So what’s a girl to do? The perfect Gnocchi Con Tartufi was nothing short of sublime with a generous shaving (or would that be showering) of the black gold. In a year of outstanding dining this is a top 3 finish. You don’t get prettier than the Anatra Affumicata with smoked duck breast, warm winter salad and  truffle mustard vinaigrette presented wreath like. Nearly too pretty too eat. Nearly.

This Magnificent Life Cucino Vivo

Pasta is freshly made throughout the day at Cucina Vivo. Pappardelle is paired with juicy Italian sausage, broccoli and dusted with chilli and pecorino. The Tagliolini is sauced with Marinara – fresh, fresh fish and shellfish, tomato sugo and a little EVOO.

Cucina Vivo This Magnificent Life

Pizza and pasta are great value here. Authentic and lovingly cooked by Italian pizzaiolos Roberto Giammellucca and Maurizio Bifulco, the pizzas include a classic Margherita, Marinara, Capricciossa and for meatlovers a Ciccia with meatballs, pancetta, spicy salami, ham and mushrooms.

Cucina Vivo This Magnificent Life

Mains from market fresh fish of the day, sous vide lamb rump, Scallopine di Vitello are joined by a choice of steaks including the Butter Knife Steak: Cabassi and Co VIP gold tenderloin with a marble score between 9-12, grain fed and aged for 600+ days, is so tender it can be cut with a butter knife.

Flamin pear

The dessert scene stealer has to be the Pera Caramellata – an unassuming but perfectly poached pear in caramelised saffron syrup arrives to the table in a cast iron pot with a side of frangipane and cinnamon ice cream. But just then the entire restaurant sit up and takes notice as the pear is spritzed and voila the blue flame dances. Pure theatre. Pure deliciousness.

Cucina Vivo This Magnificent Life

If you like your desserts a little less flashy, don’t go past the Dacquoise Italiano (white choc mousse on silky lemon curd, walnut sponge, with a pistachio tuile or an excellent Tiramisu. The Flavours of Italy is the ideal way to sample the kitchen’s best with five glasses of gelati, tiramisu, dacquoise and hazelnut pannacotta.

Cucina Vivo lives up to its name; it is a kitchen alive. Alive with the sounds and inviting aromas of a real Italian kitchen. The restaurant is alive with the sounds of families and friends enjoying themselves. This is serious food, but food you’re meant to have fun with.

Jeremy Allan explains his approach to food – his passions and his delicious favourites…







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Liz Bond

Liz Bond comes from a PR background and loves fine wine, great food and rewarding travel - all the magnificent things in life. She prides herself in an innate ability to meet famous celebrities at baggage carousels.

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