Hey, Foodwala’s welcome to another tale of Alfie Foodwala.
This week yours truly was asked to judge the SPICE restaurant awards, so I will be traveling the length and breadth of our fair land eating at restaurants who have spice as their common element.
Anyway, I was again down in London this week and as I was flying down on British Airways I found myself reading the M&S inflight food booklet and I noticed to my amusement they were selling courgette spaghetti and other veg based pasta knockoffs.
I pointed this out to my Italian friend sitting next to me and his expression was akin to someone putting diesel in a Ferrari 250 GT California, In other words, it was sacrilege of the highest order.
He said in his expressive Roman Italian that the vegetable pasta “could not touch the cloth” of the flour and water concoction and the vegetable pasta was invented by some clever marketing people paid by the vegetable industry to arrest the decline in sales of vegetables by rebranding vegetables for the fickle and fad are driven health food market.
he said no self-respecting nonna would ever contemplate serving this to her brood.
To further emphasise this point I decided to go to a Pasta cafe run by Artisan pastawalas, I walked up to Padella and noticed people waiting outside the restaurant, from where I could see it just looked like a few folks so I decided to join the wait, however, I followed the hungry queue and it went theme park style well into Borough Market.
I decided to wait and 30 minutes later I was shown to our places overlooking the bar.
The menu is only small, six antipasti and ten pasta dishes.
This Tuscan Gnudi Gnocchi was an expert blend of steamed potato and semolina dumplings finished with creamy nutmeg butter and black pepper, simple yet delicious.
The thin ribbon-like pasta was tossed with soft flaked Dorset Crabmeat and dried red chili and zest of Lemon.
This was absolutely delicious, the subtle flavour of the soft shell crab was complemented by the parmesan and the lemon acidity helped balance the opposing flavour elements.
In other words, posh mac and cheese but this was like no other mac and cheese I have tasted, the worm-like pasta was chewy and the cheese and black pepper sauce was simple yet delicious.
In conclusion, It is what rustic Italian food should be, simple yet delicious where the ingredients are the symphony and the chef is the conductor. The pasta concept was unremarkable yet the execution was exceptional.
The service was friendly and simple, they took the order, put the full plate in front of me and took the empty away, simple like Padella.