Friday 23 August 2013

Al-Desko Dining: My Pasta Bar

Al-Desko Dining: Because having to work through lunch shouldn’t mean you have to eat the same old tired damp sandwich day after day until the end of recorded time.
I love pasta.  Always have done.  It's my go-to dish, my emergency have-to-eat-quickly dish, my oh-no-there's-nothing-in-the-house-to-eat dish, and my all-time favourite, ultimate comfort food.  There's something so incredibly satisfying and hearty about it, especially when covered in a mountain of rich, meaty sauce and salty parmesan.  Yum yum yum. 
So when I learned that Gino D'Acampo (famous, perhaps, for his stints of This Morning and I'm a Celebrity…) was opening up a new fast-food pasta bar within spitting distance of my office, I got very excited.
Earlier this week I headed out to My Pasta Bar to see what the fuss was about.
The concept is actually refreshingly simple: there's a range of pre-packaged foods, all fresh Italian staples, like pizza focaccia or arancini (deep-fried risotto balls of heart-clogging goodness), as well as a range of pasta-and-sauce options – five for carnivores, five for veggies.  But you're not tied into anything; you are totally free to mix-and-match your choices – carefully selecting your favourite style of pasta and combining it with the most mouth-watering sauce you can find.
My meal of choice: Penne Bolognese.
Let's start with the important thing here: it tastes great.  Rich, meaty, tomatoey goodness.  I don’t know about the authenticity of this – then again, there's real controversy over the 'authentic' Bolognese recipe – but it's a tasty nevertheless, and that's what counts. 
If I was going to make one complaint it would be this: I like my pasta al dente, with a good amount of bite, and this was lacking.  But I would modify that with two things: (a) it's hard, if not impossible, to do pasta as fast-food and keep it crunchy.  Would I rather miss out of fast-food pasta than have it more cooked than to my liking?  No.  And (b) GrubsterGirl tells me that I basically eat my pasta raw (I disagree, but hey).  So perhaps, at least on this one tiny detail, I am biased.

Back at My Pasta Bar, it gets better: it's totally customisable.  By which I mean that, in addition choosing your pasta and sauce, you're also presented with a tray of little dinky pots of Stuff.  These include parmesan, basil oil and chilli oil.  All good, all tasty, and a lovely little touch. 
One last thing: it was enormous.  There's no way you don’t get value for money, at least in terms of quantity.  I wanted to hide under my desk and have a little nap.
Price?  Decent, I reckon.  All in, including a blood orange San Pellegrino (the yummy, ever-so-authentically Italiano, often shockingly expensive soft drink), the total damage was £6.75.  So not an everyday experience, but very good value for what you get.

 - GrubsterBoy -

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