THE BEST PASTA IN PERTH
I felt a bit like Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman) when my phone rang and the filtered message went out like this: Solo Pasta. Mount Lawley. 3pm.
I love surprises. I really do! But this was not one I expected without my tonal “WTF!”
Solo Pasta is the brain-child of Chef Gil Lewkowicz whose worldwide CV is not just interesting, it is notable. I had been primed through the grapevine that something was in the offing. I’d been drip fed tit-bits: pasta by the metre; new look; not Italian; international; a medley of flavours; freshly made. But it never dawned on me how brilliant his concept was until I was half way through my meal.
I’d ordered the tender chicken lime and coconut curry with coriander, peanut and caramelised chilli without a second thought, because it had “Thai” emblazoned all over it. I was on autopilot. I love Thai food. But when my meal arrived, it was devoid of the usual culprits like my favourite, rice noodles. In fact, there was nothing very “Thai” about it at all. On the outside, that is.
The whole meal was encapsulated in a plate of pappardelle pasta served by the metre, not a noodle or rice grain in sight.
And that was the point.
FRESHLY MADE EVERYTHING
Solo Pasta is all about flavours intertwined with fresh made pappardelle pasta. I could read the signature undertows of kaffir lime (I have two trees in my garden) on the nose and tongue, the taste of coconut cream (not too overpowering) and appreciate the braised tender chicken because that’s what I do at home, in my kitchen, for my kids, and yes, clients.
It was an instant winner.
Pasta is not owned by the Italians. It is owned by every household in the world including Australia. It doesn’t matter where you live because tall or small, butterfly or stick, pasta is pasta. We love it. And at risk of ruffling a few ignorant Trump supporters, that does include English supporters, Italian, French, English (did I say that twice?), Chinese, Arab, Israeli, Spanish, Portuguese, Iraqi, Lebanese and keep going.
What we do with pasta on our own patch is what Solo Pasta has tapped into and that made Jamie Oliver millions. It is called “comfort food”, only this time, by the metre.
Solo Pasta is Gil in his element, unconstrained and homely. A massive homage to that same comfort food that has deservedly sunk so many pseudo celebrity chefs and the trawl of writers that kow-towed to them. What Gil gives you is naked and raw. There are no pretensions of grandeur. What he trots out is what we want. For a meal, our friends and family.
Solo Pasta delivers 30 stunning meals, every one of which is made from pappardelle, flat ribboned pasta that is either a classic, beetroot, or spinach consistency. You can pick what kind of pasta base you want: tomato, creamy or olive oil/jus based. And you can pick the length (I recommend the standard 4 metres…don’t let your eyes, overrule your tummy!), although I did go for the amazing Asian cabbage salad as a buffer too.
Buried in that huge selection is pretty much anything you could ever want from pork and kale meatballs, to basil pesto, Norwegian smoked salmon, chilli mussels and the old kiddie favourite, like my favourite classic, spaghetti Bolognese.
There is nothing simple about Solo Pasta. Every pappardelle strip is hand-rolled fresh each day. I was privileged to be there as the paint was drying on the old Monte Fiore site and the “new look” of Solo Pasta evolving. It was young and invigorating. I could sense the Mount Lawley set warming to the place. This was the “wine bar” I would have died for when I was 20-something. Trendy, happening and above all else, a place to hang out with my mates. With great affordable food. I didn’t check out the wine list. I didn’t have to because a really sexy Malbec was winking at me!
But if there was one thing I wished the genie could have brought me, from my old and tarnished lamp, apart from my youth again, was a take-away tub and a fork. Like a popcorn cup.
I could see myself traipsing and swaggering down Beaufort Street with the best fix in town.
I just wish I could remember her name.
Address: 628 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley WA 6050