I love pasta. Like actually love it. And nowhere does it better for lunch than Coco di Mama.
Let's start with the bag. What?! (I hear you cry.) No, seriously, there's a point to be made here. Even the bag – even the paper carrier that you cart your lunch back to your desk in –looks great, like it just fell out of some high-end fashionista boutique in Milan. Like someone's spent time styling it, making sure that it captures some glorious Roman Holiday feel. If ever a bag could be anthropomorphised, it would be this one. And it would be strutting its way down the Via della Conciliazione, wearing obscenely big designer sunglasses and the latest Italian printed silks.
Open it up, and it doesn’t get any worse at all. The theme continues, reiterating the point that this is something special. This isn't microwaved lasagne or a pot noodle (I actually saw someone eating one of those at their desk the other day – classy); this is proper pasta.
Why is this important? Well, I'll tell you why. It shows that someone, somewhere, cares. Actually cares. Cares not just about making a quick buck but about making your meal an experience. And, hell, if I'm gonna be forced to eat lunch at my desk most days, I want the odd experience from time to time to get me through those days.
The sauce options are many and legion, from staples (like Bolognese) to extraordinaries (like Bloody Mary, with actual vodka), as well as 'naked pasta' – pasta tossed with olive oil and chunky ingredients. I went for garden pesto, a medley of parmesan, pine nuts and basil. It's frickin' amazeballs. Seriously, this stuff is good – you wouldn’t think it, given that it’s basically just mashed herb, but it is good. Seriously good. Seriously this-is-what-every-bloody-Italian-restaurant-should-be-serving good. It makes you swear off that dry, overpowering, mouldgreen gunge that comes in jars in the supermarket.
A friend of mine said, of Coco di Mama's pesto pasta: "It makes me slightly cross, because they're charging you seven quid for what must cost them about seventy pence to throw together. But then I don’t mind – and keep going back every day to get it – because it just tastes so bloody good."
It's also worth noting that the pasta is bronze press pasta, a method of making pasta that's slightly more antiquated, more old-fashioned and thus expensive, but which leaves the pasta with a slightly rougher texture. I could go on about this method's pros and cons, its history, the technical process it involves, but... All you need to know is this: It makes more sauce stick. Which is, invariably, a good thing.
Today's pasta style was... Well, I can’t remember the name, so let's call it 'squiggles'. Great for holding sauce, and it's also got terrific bite.
All in all, an expensive but fantastically satisfying desk lunch.
- GrubsterBoy -