Monday, November 26, 2012

Emporio della Pasta | Southbank


Shawn and I were being quite indecisive last week, bouncing back and forth trying to choose between known good eats (eg. Number 8, Rockpool, Nobu, etc) and the lesser known eateries.  We somehow found ourselves in some far corner of Crown Casino, and there stood Emporio della Pasta. After a quick glance at the menu of Italian fare, we looked at each other with a shrug and "Eh, why not?" marched in.

Emporio della Pasta
Granted, it was lunchtime, but there wasn't a meet & greeter stationed at the door. Not a great start, but only after a few short moments, Shawn and I were seated and we began to enjoy a James Boags beer ($9.50) and a glass of Xanadu Next of Kin Chardonnay ($8). The dining area was open and vast, but nice. Tables and chairs comfy, but there's no avoiding you're next to the casino - with a jackpot going off every now and then, and a carnival-sounding man announcing winning numbers. Maybe not the best place for a romantic dinner, but we're not here for that - we're here for lunch.

Shawn ordered the Gnocchi con Salsa al Gorgonzola e Amaretti ($20.50) - sounds fancy doesn't it? The gnocchi itself was lovely, the roast pumpkin and broccolini were also nice. But for a dish boasting "gorgonzola" as an ingredient, it really didn't deliver that bold flavour Shawn expected. Suffice to say it was "good", but could've been a lot better if the gorgonzola was turned up a notch.
Gnocci con Salsa al Gorgonzola e Amaretti


I requested the Orecchiette Aglio Olio Con Verdure ($15.50) because I felt like a lighter dish (at an Italian restaurant? I know, yeah right!) and in my opinion it hit the spot and was a steal at the price!  The menu promised asparagus, broccolini & spinach with roasted garlic and olive oil - and to my surprise, it delivered! Lovely garlic flavour throughout, those sweet roasted garlic cloves were like little treasure chests buried in the pasta! Well done, this dish hit the spot!

Orecchiette Aglio Olio Con Verdure
So far, 1 out of 2 dishes is making this a 50/50 experience, so we thought we'd bring in a tie-breaker by ordering the Tiramisu ($8). It arrived in a snug little glass, with bold coffee flavour and just the right amount of everything else. The score, now: 70/30.

The total food bill was only $61.50 for us both. I'd say that's pretty good for a 70/30 experience in a decent atmosphere. It's no where near a fine dining experience, but so long as you don't expect the best meal of your life here, you'll be happy with decent portions, good flavour and competitive prices.

Emporio Della Pasta on Urbanspoon

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