Boston’s Eclectic Cuchi Cuchi Restaurant is the epitome of fabulous
I have been told on many occasions that I may have been born in the wrong decade. This comment is frequent thanks to my adoration for silver screen movies, classic television programs (I am a massive I love Lucy and Bewitched NERD), and the era when tap dancing was preferred over tap credit cards. Perhaps this faux-pas in life with me being born in the late seventies instead of the 50’s did leave me with some vintage virtues allowing me to appreciate environments bringing those eras to the forefront in today’s ever-changing society. And this is where Cuchi Cuchi came into play. A restaurant of eclectic decor, classic trends, and culinary arts fit for all decades, Cuchi Cuchi pulled at my nostalgic heart strings and had me travelling back in time over a variety of sharing plates.
A Little Background About the Restaurant
So, Cuchi Cuchi attracted not only my inner-foodie, but also my deep passion for the golden era of Hollywood through its themes and offerings. I immediately wished to experience it thanks to its nod to the glamourous days of old Tinseltown when flapper hats and derbies were a thing; where it was taboo not to dress for dinner, and, songs had a catchy chorus causing droves of groupies to sing along. This was a time of pure art and dramatic beauty. This was an influence Cuchi Cuchi aimed to ignite within Cambridge, the University town across the bridge from the heart of Boston.
In 2001 this dream of bringing vintage Hollywood to Massachusetts became a reality for owners Tamara Bourso and Fernanda Da Silva when their vision of a restaurant capturing this time of silver screen and burlesque opened for the world to experience. A restaurant where decor is intricately selected and displayed, each having a story to tell, and with a name that devoted Charo fans could completely relate to. A setting where playfulness meets patronage and tantalizing gastronomy meets glamour. I mean, this atmosphere alone screams perfection.
What I loved about the setting here besides capturing the essence of old Hollywood, was the passion demonstrated by the staff for the ambiance and environment the owners were trying to accomplish. It was evident that the team truly resonated with the message of old-school glam and embraced it without hesitation and with pure intention. The women wore corsets and flappers with pride as the men adorned bow ties, fancy shirts, and suspenders. I loved this as it gave guests that feeling they entered Tim Curry’s time warp and arrived surrounded by beauty and playful burlesque.
Some Incredible Decor Pieces that Stood Out for Me
As mentioned, the owners of Cuchi Cuchi took decorating their beautiful new and unique restaurant to a whole new level by carefully choosing items that reflected the overall feel and look of their beautiful establishment. This involved collecting incredible items from across the globe each with an attached story. Here are a few of our favourites that truly made this experience even more special:
First and foremost I was completely enamored with the gorgeous mannequin standing in the corner of a beautiful dining nook in the main room. Her name is Conchita and is a pride and joy of the restaurant. She has various outfits for the four seasons, has frequent manicures and pedicures, and is a gorgeous showgirl welcoming all guests to her eclectic abode. Tamara boasts of her beautiful mannequin collection stating that Conchita is her favourite of them all with her cutie pie pup Killer. They rotate the ladies often and love to dress them up and change their looks frequently.
The Walnut Chairs
I just loved these ornate chairs at the back of the dining room. They are walnut and brought right from Belgium to make guests at the back of the restaurant feel just as special as those near the front. The intricate design of these beautiful chairs truly fit into the artsy funk of the themed restaurant.
The Kabuki Kimono
Each piece of decor in Cuchi Cuchi tells a story. This beautiful handmade one-of-a-kind Kabuki kimono was brought straight from Japan. Traditionally men would wear these ornate cultural gowns in kabuki performances. Truly a conversation piece perfect for the fancy and feminine mood of the dining space.
The Pairpont Blown-Glass Puffy Lamps
These gorgeous and delicate lamps blew my mind. They were utterly gorgeous with the florals and feathery tones within the design. These lamps are reproductions of original Pairpont shades that were created by a glassmaking company in the 1890’s. What makes these priceless is the painting on the inside of the glass for the bulb’s glow to bring out the colours. Truly beautiful pieces glowing upon the bar and uniquely designed host desk that resembles a lacy feminine wiggle dress.
The Iron Coat Rack
Another priceless conversation piece, this one-of-a-kind item was made in the same factory Napoleon had his cannons made! Crazy!
This is just a small number of incredible decor pieces within the restaurant. Guests will be dazzled with the attention to detail that unfolds before their eyes. What is also very impressive is the knowledge the staff has for the items and their significance to the depicted era of the establishment.
The Sharing Plates
Now, let’s get to the grub; the nucleous; the main attraction. Truly a delightful set-up, I loved the style of this eatery offering smaller sharing plates (no, not tapas) to enjoy with the others at your table. The choices are quite ample with five main categories to choose from: Waterfront, Meat, Vegetable, Unclassified, and Starch. For our visit, we had the pleasure of tasting dishes from four of the five categories. They all were unique, satisfying, and complement the ambiance perfectly. So without further ado, here is what we thought of the dishes we had:
These were seared deliciously! I loved the soft centre and crisper outer texture contrast. I particularly loved the presentation on a bed of seaweed served upon a shell plate. The dressing beneath the scallops was a true delight and contrast of textures.
Polvo à Lagareiro (Octopus)
Enjoy a tantalizing tentacle of octopus grilled to perfection and complemented with starchy potatoes. Truly divine.
Fried Artichoke Hearts
Fried Artichoke Hearts Stuffed with Gorgonzola, pistachios & basil, sitting on a bed of black olive sauce and lemon butter. A pop of flavour and oozing cheese gives this vegetable a kick it so deserves being outshone frequently by other vegetables. It was definitely a flavourful celebration to the taste buds!
Cauliflower to me has become the new kale in popularity and superfood consumption. I can totally work with this trend seeing how it is one of my absolute favourite veggies. Enjoy these fried ones on a bed of spicy tangy sauce. A completely delightful and satisfying mix of flavour and texture. Plus you get all the goodness of the super vitamins within.
Mexican Deep-Fried Tomato
With a menu of dishes spanning the globe, this delightful variation of this popular red fruit brings a little bit of Mexico to the table! Enjoy a fully ripe tomato with avocado, pico de gallo, cheese and a teensy bit of spice. Delish.
Brie en Croûte
I love brie. It is a cheese of all cheeses and when served hot, you can bet your lucky stars that I have headed to foodie heaven. So take that soft cheese and mix it with garlic onion jam, green apples, walnuts, and a puff pastry and you seriously have heaven on a plate. SERIOUSLY. Great… I am now salivating as I write this. It was THAT good.
Duck a l’Orange Crepes
I love duck. It is especially delicious in fluffy crepes and mixed with notes of orange and fennel. Just sayin’…
Order this dish and await your ride to foodie heaven. The softness of the crepes melting in your mouth as you savour the orange truly serves as gastronomic excellence. Sheer luxury to the senses.
Bracioletta Ripiena di Maiale
This was a truly impressive plate! It comes to you on fire and is truly a sizzling masterpiece. I thoroughly enjoyed these guys coupled with a delightful swig of my cocktail. Such an incredible fusion of spice and flavour in these rolls.
Grilled Indian Lamb
Another meaty favourite, this lamb truly impressed with not only its delicate and fancy presentation, but also with its spices and nod to Indian cuisine. Serving it with a fragrant and crispy Poppadom made these chops a truly delightful and tantalizing addition to our multiple course meal.
French Banana Bread Extravaganza
Shocking I know, but even after enjoying all the above sharing plates we had room for dessert. So of course we opted for the house specialty of banana bread topped with fried bananas, creme Anglaise, caramel sauce, and whipped cream. A pleasantry for the palate, this sweet and satisfying dessert is best eaten with a friend and will melt in your mouth with each bite.
I jokingly told the chef herself of my mother’s aversion to bananas, and laughingly stated that this desserts is so good, it would convert her and have her enjoying every mouthful! Oh it was divine, delicious, silky, flavourful, sweet, and everything you could possibly imagine in a meal’s ultimate finale. Magnifico.
And Of Course We Tried Some Libations…
As with most guests, we needed something to wash down those delicious plates of flavour. And of course Cuchi Cuchi had many a mixer to offer. A full menu of one-of-a-kind in-house cocktails, we seriously had trouble making up our minds what to try.
The Moulin Rouge
So this drink spoke my language. I am into fruity and light drinks that are satisfying, yet not strong enough to have me pass out with one or two sips. (an old fashioned once was enough!) so I went with the splash of fruit and flair. This slushy textured beverage consisted of strawberries, raspberries, lemongrass and a mixture of raspberry and elderflower liquor, topped with a champagne float. This was an ultimate dance in my mouth and soothed the palate between each plate. After a few sips you will swear Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are singing in your ear. You will feel such enjoyment of a satisfying trance.
The Everything is Hotter Down South Concoction
My husband opted for something a little less fruity and a little more heavy. A drink with a balanced kick and more of a citrus flavour, this concoction of bourbon, ancho chile liquor and bitter tones of orange and chocolate melted upon his palate as he enjoyed his portion of the sharing plates. It served as the perfect complement.
So as we were to conclude our evening, our server surprised us with two of Cuchi Cuchi’s Bottom’s Up! Shots. Feeling completely spoilt, we were excited to give these fun and playful drinks served in bottom’s up shot glasses (that you cannot put down) a whirl. And they certainly were incredible! They were fruity, sweet, and went smoothly down the hatch. They were the perfect ending to a perfect experience.
It is definitely fair to conclude that we truly loved our experience here at Cuchi Cuchi. Everything from the playful embrace of the vintage Hollywood glam, the priceless artifacts, appreciation for those feminine icons as Dita Von Teese, Carmen Miranda, and Charo, and an exquisite array of sharing plates suited for every diet, palate, taste, and occasion, makes this a must when travelling through Boston and Cambridge Massachusetts. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this unique restaurant and particularly was impressed with the passion evoked by the staff. Passion about the decor, the concept, the food, the atmosphere, and above all the feel that Tamara and Fernanda were aiming for back in 2001. With 16 years under their belts, we only see good things continuing for this incredible and unique restaurant consistently maintaining its position in Boston’s impressive and ever-changing food scene.
More Cuchi Cuchi Fabulousness
Some of the Incredible Staff
It was an absolute pleasure visiting and collaborating with Cuchi Cuchi. We loved our experience which would not have been the same without their dedicated and passionate staff.
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Fill My Passport were a guest of Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge MA on our recent trip. All opinions in this post are our own and were not influenced in any way.