The Hobart

Cultura Espresso Bar and Restaurant

by Stephanie Williams
Cultura Espresso Bar and Restaurant

Cultura is right near our office and conveniently close to pop in for their $10 lunchtime takeaway pasta special. The gorgonzola orecchiette is a team favourite! Chef’s kiss. But after saying many times, ‘let’s sit in here for lunch one day’, it was only recently that we finally did.

Cultura is on busy Liverpool Street, just across from Myer and has been operating for 11 years. There’s a few tables outside for sunny days (which I can see are perfect for aperitivo and dinner in the warmer months), but we choose to head inside on the cold day we visited.

The long bar stretches from the front area, and leads you down into the dining room and semi-open kitchen space. There’s a pizza oven behind the bar, busily in action over lunch. The menu reads as a classic Italian menu – antipasti, insalata, pizza, pasta, risotto, mains and desserts. There are a number of vegan dishes and gluten free options, including gnocchi, pizza and pasta. Knowing I had an afternoon of work ahead of me, I stayed away from sleep-inducing pizza and pasta, but did opt for a glass of Frogmore Creek riesling. Because, why not!?

Our food arrived quickly. My pork and beef meatballs ($20) were served with thinly sliced ciabatta and were completely deli­cious. The tomato sugo sauce was rich and perfect for mopping up with the bread. One dining companion ordered the bruschetta ($19) was a chopped salad of tomatoes, red onion and basil atop ciabatta bread – a classic combination. My other diner ordered the gamberi oglio e olio ($29) – spaghetti with prawns, oil, garlic and chilli. We also ordered a serve of polenta chips ($16) to share, which came with a creamy gorgonzola sauce.

It’s one thing to serve decent food (which Cultura does!) but it’s hospitality that makes a first time diner into a regular. And Italian restaurants do it so well. Having been regulars for takeaway, I can safely say we’ve found a great option in the CBD for when there’s more time to linger, or to meet someone over lunch.

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May 2024

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