Have you heard about the new Italian restaurant Ciao Cucina in lower Crown St?

Italian food: Avieghail Cabalag, Fabio Dell’Elice and Enrico Perotti at the new BYO Ciao Cucina restaurant in lower Crown St, Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.
Italian food: Avieghail Cabalag, Fabio Dell’Elice and Enrico Perotti at the new BYO Ciao Cucina restaurant in lower Crown St, Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.

A new Italian restaurant in lower Crown Street, Wollongong is attracting plenty of attention since opening last week.

Ciao Cucina at 56 Crown Street is proving a popular lunch and dinner venue not only for its traditional Italian pasta and focaccia but for its value and ability to make dishes to individual tastes. And from traditional family recipes.

Chef of 25 years Enrico Perotti and his business partner Fabio Dell’Elice have also found a big big demand for people calling in the morning to order a meal to take home after work.

Mr Perotti has worked at many restaurant’s in the Illawarra since migrating from Italy. That has included Samuel’s Restaurant at Thirroul and Terra Mia in Wollongong.

He was born in Italy and left Torino in his early 20’s to move to London to work at The Savoy. After many years of experience working as a chef in London he met and fell in love with Vanessa Morn from Australia.

“And when I came here I fell in love with Wollongong straight away,” he said. 

Mr Perotti writes his daily menu and take home menu and prices with chalk on blackboards. He simply puts a line through anything he runs out of with a chalk.

The board changes daily and as word spread quickly he quickly found himself serving up about 60 pastas a day.

“The pasta is very popular. We do lunches for $10. And then we started doing a What’s For Dinner. It has been very popular with people ringing up in the morning and ordering what they want to take home after work.”

The price depends on the dish but Ciao Cucina has done four serves of a lasagne for $35.

Mr Dell’Elice said his knowledge of refrigeration and business would be a help to his long time friend and he is already enjoying working in the new restaurant.

He started his first business in Rome at the age of 24.

“This is a dream I have had for a long time and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to work with Enrico who I reckon is the greatest chef in Wollongong,” he said.

“I am the focaccia man. We use fresh ingredients with no preservatives. It is just like your mother and grandmother used to make.”

Ciao Cucina is a BYO restaurant open for lunch every day from Tuesday to Saturday and dinner Friday and Saturday nights.