Scopa Caffe Cucina

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2 reviews
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141 Cuba St,
Wellington Central

04 3846020

The ViewWellington Review

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Review byBennett & Slater6/11/2009
The corner known as Lucky’s is at Cuba & Ghuznee. It’s been lucky for some but not for others, and thereby hangs a tale.

Once upon a time, the ground floor of Lucky’s Corner was home to a tired Chinese takeaway. But a few years ago the upstairs flat caught fire, burning the building to a crisp (that oil in the walls can’t have helped). Enter Vim Rao and Gnanaprasham Kunda, proprietors of Kopi and Bouquet Garni, a pair of mostly successful restaurants on Willis Street. Lucky’s Corner was to be the site of their most ambitious project yet: a fancy new restaurant called Rouge. The rumour-mill said that a cool mil’ was spent during the interminable time it took to complete the necessary earthquake strengthening and reno’s. And after all that, alas, a somewhat hazy but certainly disgruntling turn of events saw Rouge close in February 2006 after only eight months of trade.

Lee and I went to Rouge once. We didn’t rate it. The food was try-hard and the décor just too Blake 7 for our liking: the futuristic flight deck, the cathedralic wall of tiny tiles, the eye-goggling array of lights... And as for the krypton factor toilets! (Where do I push, pull, how does it lock? Dang it! Now then, how the hell do I get outta here?). It reeked of carte blanche – ‘an interior designer’s wet dream’, said our friend, an interior designer herself, as she walked us through the fittings and her estimate of their cost. No wonder the owners went bust.

Moving swiftly on. Who better to try their luck in this spot than the Bresolin brothers? Scions of the esteemed Signor Remiro, these two presumably grew up at the table, imbued with winning ways and the importance of customer satisfaction. In 2006 they took over the tiled terror. Like a phoenix from the ashes, their cucina – Scopa – was born. The legacy of Rouge lives on, of course, for beyond the draping of an Italian flag and a light dusting in pizza flour, it’s the same as it ever was, same as it ever was. And I’m no more enamoured of the space. Scopa’s food more than makes up for it. The pizzas are perfect. Twenty to choose from, the best in town – and very good value, too (a steal if you time your visit for the half-price-special: Tuesdays, 11am–3pm). On a recent and rare occasion when Lee and I strayed from the pizza menu, we were wowed with a rocket and prosciutto salad with gorgonzola, pears, parsnip crisps and organic walnut oil (how good does that sound?); a rich gnocchi; and the saltimbocca of pork with caramelised parsnip, pine nuts and raisins.

The place was packed, but with a Bresolin on the floor, the service was humming along. And on a return visit a few days later, a lazy Sunday afternoon with only a handful of patrons in, the staff were no less attentive as they served us quickly in between smartening up table settings and unobtrusively sweeping up the odd crumb. We’re completely sold on Scopa and the smarts of the people who own it. But I’d still prefer a seat by the window so I can look outwards instead of in.

Scopa Caffe Cucina has been reviewed by 2 users

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