Salmon scottato. Picture supplied.

Fresh and warming Tuscan cuisine at its finest is a key inspiration behind the new winter menu at Southern Sun Hyde Park’s Luce Restaurant, renowned for authentic Italian cuisine fused with Japanese dishes and ocean-fresh sushi.

Executive Chef Grant van der Riet says, “The idea behind this Tuscan-centric new menu was to include traditional Italian items that suit the cold weather. We involved our enthusiastic team of chefs who focused on the flavours and techniques, and ensuring the authenticity of the dishes. We kept things simple, with appealing and uncomplicated plating, and adding our own touches to each dish to make them interesting, fresh and flavourful.”

Espresso panna cotta. Picture supplied.

New on the starters menu is Caprese with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto and balsamic; and Melanzane parmigiana – baked eggplant with mozzarella in tomato and basil sauce. Two hearty new soups have been added in time to curb the winter chills – Minestrone di verdura alla Toscana – minestrone soup Tuscan style with borlotti beans, croutons, and parmigiana; and Cacciucco di pesce alla Livornese – seafood, mussels and prawns in tomato soup with chilli. 

A Tuscan salad with romaine lettuce, gorgonzola dressing, bacon, walnuts, artichokes, and a soft poached egg has been added to the existing salad options.

Cacciucco di pesce alla Livornese. Picture supplied.

Seven new must-try pastas and risottos include Frutti di mare tagliatelle with seafood in tomato, basil and chilli sauce; Pappardelle al telefono in a creamy tomato sauce with mozzarella; Tortellini di zucca e ricotta con tartufo nero fresco – homemade pumpkin and ricotta tortellini on pumpkin puree, sage-infused burnt butter and truffle; Tagliatelle saltate alla carne di bue – served with slow-braised oxtail in a tomato sauce with parmesan; Ravioli alla Massaia – veal and creamy wild mushroom sauce; Risotto con capesante, which includes Napolitano with prawns, garlic, chilli and parmesan; and Risotto ai funghi porta bellini freschi, asparagi e tartufo, with fresh mushrooms, garlic and thyme.

Fish dishes now include Salmon Scottato with lobster tortellini and squid ink chardonnay butter sauce; Barramundi on pomodoro e mais with sweet corn puree and tomato salad; and Tonno scottato in padella – seared tuna with asparagus, puttanesca sauce, and salsa verde.

Pancia di maiale Toscano. Picture supplied.

New chill-busting tantalizing and hearty items on the mains menu are Lombo di Angello con crosta di pistacchio – lamb loin with pistachio crust with roast pumpkin puree, gnocchi and port glaze; and Ribeye con osso con midollo osseo arrostito – grilled ribeye with mushroom puree and polenta gratin; and Pancia di maiale Toscano – Tuscan pork belly with red cabbage puree, potato and pancetta. Adds Chef Grant, “This is a Luce speciality. We smoke the pork belly and have added our own selection of lovely, fragrant herbs.”

Heavenly and tantalizing new desserts are Torta al cioccolato fondente e frutto della passione – dark chocolate and hazelnut tart with torrone and mocha ice cream; Crostata di mele – apple pie with mascarpone, cinnamon and ice cream; Espresso panna cotta – espresso-infused panna cotta with coffee gel, mocha ice cream and honeycomb; and Gorgonzola e fico – smoked gorgonzola with homemade fig preserve, crackers, honeycomb and strawberries.