By Virginia Campbell, Epigram Food writer
Tucked away near the bustle of Whiteladies Road, you can find a gem of a restaurant. Unassuming in appearance, Pasta Loco, on Cotham Hill, is quite easily missed amongst the nearby bright colours of bakeries and charity shops.
It’s interior even, although undoubtedly chic and comfortable, is nothing particularly out of the ordinary. There is a great irony then perhaps, in the fact that the food is incredibly extraordinary.
I found myself there at lunch time, when they offer a set menu deal of two courses for fourteen pounds, or three courses for seventeen pounds. There was an option of three of each course, yet it still took me a good ten minutes to decide what to eat - every option sounded innovative and delicious.
I finally settled on the Parpadelle with brown crab, mussels and tenderstem broccoli, whilst my friend went for the gnocchi with salsiccia and caramelised hispi cabbage in a cheesy creamy sauce.
The variety of textures in my dish - which was served promptly and with beautiful presentation - was wonderful. Soft sheets of freshly made pasta, alongside crisp garlic breadcrumbs and tender broccoli made for a marriage in heaven. The flavours in the gnocchi dish, a mouthful of which I was able to pilfer from my friend, were phenomenal. Perfectly cooked gnocchi pieces sat beautifully next to the salty salsiccia, and were bathed in a cream sauce that was neither too heavy or too thin.
Desert was no less balanced - a deconstructed tart in the form of soft lavender Italian meringue, frangipane crumb, cherry compote and poached plums.
Image: Epigram Food contributor/ Virginia Campbell
The service was equally exemplary. I was politely seated to my table, the chair pulled out for me with manners that would be expected in a restaurant of much dearer prices. I felt constantly looked after, but not pestered. It is perhaps this exceeding of expectations that is truly defining of Pasta Loco.
The quality of the food - not least in the daily freshly made pasta, and the constant variety of the oft-changing menu - is far greater than you would expect for the money you spend. It is an original and intimate setting, with identically paralleling dishes.
Featured image: Epigram Food contributor/ Virginia Campbell
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