Fasta Pasta – South Tce

Today on the Dining Diaries…

I went to an Italian restaurant and didn’t order Fettucini,
A scantily clad salad fails to excite
Cheap prices and friendly staff ensure we will be back anyway..

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Diners today we were at Fasta Pasta located on the corner of South Tce and Pulteney St.

We were time poor and just wanted something that was going to be quick and easy and Fasta Pasta was on the way and fit the bill perfectly!

This location is on the edge of the city’s CBD but still had a good crowd at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. The staff were friendly and attentive. In fact two different servers greeted us as we wandered around inside trying to find a where we wanted to sit.

Eventually we sat on the Eastern side. We had a nice view of the exposed brick wall. Maybe it was the nice sunny day but with the sun streaming through the windows and the decor inside, it seemed very relaxing.

Sorry my photos are so bad but I hope you get an idea of what I mean.

I was determined to not order my staple of Fettucini. It was hard not to! I mean I am in a pasta restaurant after all!!
I did notice some interesting menu items including “Hamburger Italiano” which I was tempted  to get but didn’t. Maybe another time.

Hubby and I noticed the prices seemed very reasonable and we figured the serves would be small for that price, we got some fries to start to fill our rumbling stomachs.

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As we have come to expect, it was a simple but good plate of fries. Fresh, with a bit of tomato sauce on the side and the serving was quite generous.

We were almost done with those when our mains came out.

I did end up getting a pasta. I chose the Cannelloni. Pasta tubes filled with ricotta and spinach, oven baked in napoli sauce, finished with cream, basil and baby spinach.

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I really didn’t know how to make this look pretty. It looked kind of sloppy when it came out but even though we eat with our eyes first, I was still hopeful that it was going to taste good.
I didn’t expect the napoli sauce to be on one side and the cream to be on the other.

I found it strange that I wasn’t able to cut through the cannelloni with my fork. The pasta was quite tough in places. I ended up having to use the knife and when I ate it, found it to be a bit hard and crunchy in places.
While this was not unpleasant, it wasn’t what I was expecting in a Cannelloni dish.
The filling was pretty good. I could taste that ricotta and the napoli sauce was very fresh and enhanced the whole dish.
I’m not a fan of cream sauces although I know a lot of people are. I could have done without that on the plate but honestly, for the price of this dish ($15 main) I was certainly not unhappy with what I’d received.

Hubby went for a non pasta dish. He finds it hard to go past a Pork Belly when it’s on the menu!
The menu states “Roman style crispy skin, slow roasted Pork Belly served on mashed potato with rocket, red onion and sticky balsamic.

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When it first came out hubby said he thought it looked like they’d brought him a caramel slice.
The first thing I noticed was that the salad seemed to have no dressing. It just looked like some greenery thrown on the plate. Hubby shifted a few leaves and found a spot that seemed to have some balsamic on it. At least that’s what we hoped it was.
Hubby said the flavour of the Pork was nice although it was a little dry and the skin was definitely not crispy. He liked the mashed potato even if I thought it looked dry (I didn’t taste it)
Again, for the price ($19.90) this was not a bad dish at all. We wanted something quick, reasonable and fairly honest and that’s what we got.

While this may not be the most exciting place around, it’s very much family friendly and you pretty much know what you’re going to get every time you visit.

I’m sure this will not be our last visit to a Fasta Pasta restaurant.

Have you been to Fasta Pasta on South Tce?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gusto Ristorante

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Authentic Italian food soothes a raging craving,
Noise levels make it hard to communicate and
Befuddled servers amuse.

gusto-ristorante-norwood-restaurants-9aa4-938x704.jpgDiners today we are at Gusto Ristorante on the very popular Norwood Parade.

I tried to search for a website but couldn’t find one which is surprising as it’s a popular place and the server told me they’d been around for about fourteen years.

I may not have looked well enough though…

It was Friday night when we dined and most of the tables were full of people chatting and generally having a good time. We were shown to a table and given a couple of menus.

The wait staff seem pretty friendly although it did take them a very long time to come back and take our order.

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The first thing I noticed as I entered Gusto’s was the noise level. Maybe that has something to do with my age but it was difficult to speak over the noise of everybody else.

The decor seems simple but elegant maybe even semi industrial as there were exposed wires and cables here and there.

There didn’t seem to be anything overt to suggest we were entering an Italian restaurant, although there were pizza signs out on the street.

While we waited for the waiter to come back for our order, I couldn’t help but look at the food on other people’s tables and most of it looked so good! The serves were very generous (the pasta dishes in particular)

Finally our server returned and we were able to place an order. He dutifully took it and off he went.  About ten minutes later, another waiter comes and stands awkwardly at our table. He’s looking at a folder in his hand, then looking at us, then steps back, then steps forward again. I realised that he was holding someone’s bill.
“Did you ask for your check?” he asks timidly.
“No we haven’t eaten yet” I said smiling. It was a pretty funny moment.

We wanted to sample the food from their wood oven but didn’t particularly want a pizza so hubby chose to have the Calzone. Unfortunately I didn’t get the menu description because it was on the “Specials” menu.

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This picture probably makes it seem smaller than it was as the calzone was quite a decent serve. I tried some of the dough as that is my favourite bit and it was beautifully spongy and doughy on the inside, yet toasty and crunchy on the outside.
The server asked hubby if he wanted any chili’s with it and she brought it out in a bowl with olive oil.
fullsizerenderI hadn’t seen it presented like that before and hubby just fell in love with it!!

It was a great addition to his meal. He said the chili really enhanced the flavours that were already present.

I didn’t try any of the filling but hubby said it was just perfect. I could see that the filling was actually a substantial amount. Sometimes when you order a calzone you end up getting more air inside than filling.

It was satisfying and delicious and just what a calzone should be.

Being a good Italian girl I love my pasta but decided to step away from my usual go to of Fettucini, and ordered the Cannelloni di Ricotta, Spinaci e Zucca – Layers of House Made Pasta Sheets Filled with Pumpkin, Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Topped with Napoletana Sauce & Fresh Basil

fullsizerender1My picture does not do it justice at all. It looks like a mess of tomato sauce but honestly, this dish was just so divine!

I have to say though, the stars of this dish were the pasta and the pasta sauce.
The pasta was cooked beautifully and the menu states that the pasta is “house made”.
I specifically asked the waiter about this because it was so impressive and she told me that the owner’s mother makes all the pasta.
My little mind started ticking over thinking, if she’s making ALL the pasta on her own, for all the business this restaurant does, she must never do anything else in life than make pasta!!!
Later on another server told me that she only makes some of the pasta, but that they get the rest, including the pasta they use for the Cannelloni, from another supplier.

The sauce was a beautiful distraction also. I say distraction because I really didn’t notice the filling. I’m not sure I could taste it, there wasn’t that much of it there, but it didn’t matter to me as every mouthful of that pasta and sauce was enriching my Italian soul.

I’ve read a few reviews of Gusto’s and felt perhaps some were a little harsh. Based on my own experience I would have no hesitation in going there again.
It’s still a very popular place and I figure people wouldn’t keep going if they didn’t like what the restaurant had to offer.

Give me a good wine and a nice plate of pasta and you’ll find one happy woman!

Have you been to Gusto’s?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…