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50 (shades of) Cucina

50 (shades of) Cucina 50 (shades of) Cucina

Photographer:Fotograaf: Kate Surala

Work like a slave, eat like a king

The waiter arrives with a wrinkled menu and awaits our orders. There are so many options I can’t make up my mind immediately. “I am going to bring your drinks first”, he announces with a thick Italian accent. While waiting for our drinks, I look around. I’m sitting in the heart of Wyck in a tiny room with tables squeezed in so tightly together you need to shout to be heard. Every table is covered with a red and white chequered tablecloth and transparent foil to protect it from sloppy eaters. The music is very loud, which is not ideal for a quiet evening, but the atmosphere is truly Italian.

The secret to a great Tagliatelle Frutti di Mare is the use of fresh seafood and a sauce combining the juices of the vongole with a stock made from the shrimp heads and shells. You can immediately distinguish between frozen and fresh seafood, which lends itself to a marvellous, flavourful sauce. Cucina 50 puts in the effort, resulting in a juicy pasta with various sea creatures including crab, shrimps and mussels. The dish is topped with fresh herbs and served within thirty minutes even though the restaurant is completely full. Given the quality, the €14.40 price tag seems justifiable since the restaurant purchases really fresh ingredients, which are themselves quite expensive. Moreover, as at any typical Italian restaurant, Cucina 50’s staff serve you with complimentary oil and vinegar next to your dish. The place isn’t especially glamorous or inventive, but that’s precisely the beauty of it. On both of my visits, there were few desserts on offer, but happily all were homemade. When I ordered my favourite Crème brûlée, I was looking to taste a seductively silky dessert with a warm crust of caramelised sugar that yields with a pleasing crack. Unfortunately it was utterly cold, and thus lacked the spirit of a good Crème brûlée.

When I went to pay at the register, the cashier, probably a member of the family business, he raised his eyebrow and, without acknowledging my presence, continued talking to the woman standing beside him. I stood there uncomfortably for another two minutes until I was given a receipt without the 20% student discount, even though I had explicitly asked for it. Hopefully, the staff will be in a better mood next time!

Kate Surala

-> Cucina 50, Stationsstraat 50, http://cucina50.nl/

 

My menu

 

Tagliatelle Frutti di Mare

€14.40

Glass of white wine

€3.50

Crème brûlée

€5.50
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