Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pasta Inc, Keong Saik Road

 Friend of mine told me of this place with [quote]IMBA PASTA[/quote] at this place called Pasta Inc - and what luck when we saw they were offering a coupon deal for $38 for a 4-course set meal (worth $76 or something). We snapped it up without even quite giving it a second thought!

 Took the opportunity to try out what Pasta Inc is all about with our recent purchase of a four-course set meal deal offer. Between the both of us, we had..

Firstly, a bread basket to start. Not sure why we were given an odd number of bread slices ("we are meant to fight over the last piece," said  sagely), but we (amicably) had 1.5 servings each. Not particularly memorable, although I appreciated it served warm. In fact we thought the olive oil/balsamic vinegar dispenser was more interesting.

 There were two choices of starters. The parma ham melon was my favourite - the ham soft and salty, which complemented and also contrasted the sweetness of the rock melon. 

 I've had plenty of parma ham in my life though sadly mostly on pizza - first time eating it with rock melon and I must say it was a little strange personally! Yes the soft salty ham complements the sweet rock melon, though I'm a newb to this so can't really comment!

{ Prosciutto con Melone }
Thinly sliced Parma ham wrapped around wedges of sweet roc melone.

 If you don't fancy eating uncooked ham and fruit at the same time, you may opt for the tomato mussels. Three sizeable mussles slathered in tasty tomato sauce makes for a good appetizer, but somehow wasn't quite unique for me. I did not detect any spiciness, and I may indeed be wrong here but the sauce reminded me of those 'premium' bottled ones available off-the-shelf.

 Ah, angry mussels - yum. I actually quite liked the dish overall, the tomato sauce had some unique spice flavour to it, but nothing too spectacular.

{ Cozze Alla Arrabbiata }
Fresh New Zealand mussels in spicy tomato sauce
 Onwards to the primi piatti of pasta. Here again you are presented with two choices. I personally slightly preferred the linguine in pesto. The basil herbiness could have been more pronounced though, and maybe the addition of pine nuts would have made it all the more better. Unfortunately prawns tasted a bit off and was a bit mushy in the centre.

 The pasta came in a tasting portion - was expecting as much since there was a meat course after this. The pesto tasted alright but felt similarly that too much oil, too little basil, and no nutty flavour at all. And the prawns ... yikes. Not fresh - powdery, mushy. Le terribl√©.

{ Linguine con Gamberi E Pesto }
Flat spaghetti pasta cooked with prawns in pesto sauce
 Now the crabmeat fettucine isn't bad, but is waaay too creamy for my liking. It screamed 'cream overload' at my every bite and the crab flavour took the backseat. Which is a pity because I can literally see chunks of crab meat in every forkful, but the creamy sweet sauce just overwhelms everything. Now it's probably an unfair comparison, but the one at Riciotti definitely wins hands and paws down.

 I would prefer this to the pesto linguine but that isn't saying much! The focus of this dish was the cream and the sweet sweet sauce, which is sad because crab pasta done right is spectacular. While not denying the quality or amount of crab used, the sauce was simply overpowering and I could only taste sweet in this dish.

{ Fettucini Al Granchio }
Flat pasta served with crabmeat in pink sauce

 We were still eager to taste what was to come in the secondo piatto. Yet again two options are available. I must say now both were a bit disappointing, but maybe because we had higher expectations..

Chicken was a bit strange but I found myself tolerating this better than the fish (more on that later). The egg coating reminded me of something similar I have eaten in some distant past but can't quite figure out what exactly. I quite liked the texture of the chicken, but the taste.. didn't really work. Didn't taste the parmesan?! The mustard sauce (which was a bit watery) seemed then to only serve the purpose of providing the dish with some sort of flavour.

 Wow. I had a strange look on my face and the meat course arrived - different meats but with same generic sides (carrots were good). Chicken was dry, could not taste the parmesan or the herbs, mustard was ok. The egg batter was ... just no. Quite harsh but I would've preferred a food court style chicken chop to this.

Curious I googled the dish, and apparently Roman Chicken (Pollo Alla Romana) is chicken baked / fried with bell peppers and tomato base. No mention of egg batter or cheese. Oh well.

{ Pollo Alla Romana }
Pan fried chicken coated with egg and parmesan cheese
 The Dory fillet was.. okay. I like my pan fried fish to have a nice dry exterior with a bit of crispiness, but this was just soggy. I suppose with the balsamic drizzle this can't be helped, but even then the 'breaded' part was soft and limp. Really felt like eating generic (dare I say this...) frozen fish fillet made fancy by balsamic dressing. OK in a nutshell: not a big fan of this! (The roasted vegies were the winner!)

 (Translated to 'Fish of the day') breaded again, soggy crust, fish was fresh but that's it. I was extremely puzzled by the meat course, I felt like we got a little bit ripped off to be honest. I kept lamenting "I'm not sure what they expect us to taste in this dish".

{ Pesce Del Giorno }
Pan fried John Dory with balsamic dressing
 Dessert was the last chance of redemption that night. And thank goodness it turned out alright! Tiramisu was a small serving, but it was done well. I loved the bitterness of the espresso-soaked sponge fingers and the sweet mushiness of the mascarpone.  Went nicely with our separate orders of latte. 

 On the contrary I thought the Tiramisu was a rather generous portion, and it was good (thank god). Well soaked sponge fingers brought out the nice mushy contrasting flavours in this soft cake.

{ Tiramisu }

 I'd sum up Pasta Incs as: hits and misses, mostly misses! If the promotional set meal was any indication of food quality and value, I'm not terribly enticed to come back to try the other ala carte items.

 Have to say, the food on the regular menu might be good (though pricey), but the set menu was extremely disappointing to be honest. The starters were just ok and the pasta and main I felt were huge let downs. Not even sure if it was worth the 'discounted' $38. Not at all enticed now to come back for the regular menu.

HGW Link (77% recommended at time of posting) :
Rating (out of 4) : 

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