Cheeky Donkey

Casa Ciuccio

15 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy


He Says
We visited Casa Ciuccio for my BFFFs birthday in May, an event that never fails to disappoint. It was at such a birthday, two years ago, that Marg and I actually met; a fact that we never fail to remind my friend of. We’re not the only ones either, Marg’s best friend who is getting married next week met her groom-to-be at the same birthday party. For his birthday, as well as providing inadvertent matchmaking services, he also always seems to select a venue on Gertrude Street. Perhaps he’s channelling his inner hipster? Anyway, Casa Ciuccio was selected for dinner, not just because of its location, but also because of the promise of coal pit meats. Meat from a pit? Win.

To be honest, I’m a little confused about Casa Ciuccio. The website proclaims that the name means cheeky donkey in Neapolitan dialect, so I was expecting more of an Italian themed fare. However, after reading the review on The Age, and then arriving for dinner, it is far more of a Spanish leaning cuisine than Italian. Not that it’s a bad thing, the food is delicious, it’s just that sometimes you can’t help but accidently judge a book by its cover when the cover is in fact from a different book.

She Says
I was pretty excited about dinner at Casa Ciuccio, but not as excited as Gerard, that boy just loves a slab of meat. I would go so far as to say that he’s Jodie Foster level obsessed with it. Personally I don’t really get the whole Jodie Foster thing, but apparently some people do, the girl has had some notable stalkers. Did you know that the man who tried to assassinate Reagan did it to impress Jodie Foster? 20 years later he was banned from going on day trips from his psychiatric hospital when they found him smuggling photos of her back in. That’s commitment.

Anyway, back on point… I had been busy at work so hadn’t had a chance to read up on the menu online so when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t as meat heavy as I expected, but still definitely too meat heavy for the generally-vegetarian friend who was there with us. Who knew that a seemingly italian restaurant would serve no pasta?

The restaurant itself is very nice, it has a very relaxed and cozy atmosphere. Then again, on the night we visited it was absolutely freezing and pouring with rain outside so anything would have seemed cozy by comparison (not to say that it wasn’t lovely, it was).

I was so hungry and cold that I don’t really remember a lot else about the experience at Casa Ciuccio so I’m going to get straight into the food.

We Ate
We shared a number of entrees, mains and sides between us and were too hungry to get photos of them all. Here’s what we managed to catch:

The croqueta ($4 each). The filling varies, the day we went it was wagyu beef which was pretty delicious.


One of our sides was a roast cauliflower special (approx $15).


We also tried another special, a squid souffle (I think it was described as a souffle, maybe an omelette? I realise that souffles and omelettes aren’t even close to interchangeable, but bear with me). This was probably my highlight of the night.


We tried three options ‘from the pit’ – first the suckling kid ($35).


We also had the black angus chuck rib ($32). I’ll be honest, this photo may well not be the chuck rib. I’m honestly not sure. I’m home sick at the moment and I’m struggling a little at most things, including meat identification.


On a struggling note again, I know that we had potatoes, but can’t now find them on the menu. Maybe they came with the meat? In any event, they were fine, but not amazing.


To Conclude
The food at Casa Ciuccio is good, not particularly cheap, but not outrageous either. I’d go again.

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