Last night Mark gathered his peeps for his 25th birthday dinner on Lygon Street which could only mean that we were in for some tacky Italian-Aussie grub *shudders* Apart from Balzari, no Italian restaurant on Lygon Street is good in my opinion which is a shame because they used to serve good food back in the day. Instead of tasty home-made goodness, we’re getting spaghetti marinara, for example, which looks plastic and is overladen with a bucket of cream and frozen seafood extender *shudders again* So when Mark announced that he was having his birthday at Pasta Rustica, one of the even more tackier Italian restaurants on the Ying Thai/Safeway side of Lygon Street that’s always got spruikers out the front, I knew that I was in for an interesting time.
The table was booked for 7pm but of course when me and Adam arrived on time after walking there by foot from the city, no one was there except Mark and about two other people whom I had not met before. Anyway, we spent about 45 mins waiting for the others to come which needed no further explanation from me as to how I (and the others who bothered to come on time) felt. We finally ordered our meals and sat around talking about (what else) Michael Jackson (RIP, by the way).
As we waited for our food to come, I took in our surroundings which I felt were a bit OTT. While I commend the owners’ efforts in trying to evoke some rustic charm to the place, I felt that it was a bit overdone. Had they left it with the exposed brick walls and fireplace, all would have been okay but they decided to decorate the room with all sorts of things that were synonymous with Italy – bust figurines of Nero, Italian flags, etc. Ugh. After a 30 minute wait (!!!), we finally got our meals.
My fettuccine pesto ($19.90 for a main-sized plate, or $14.90 for entree-sized). The middle-aged waitress who looked like she couldn’t be effed with her shift tonight actually tried to talk me out of ordering a main-sized pasta. She said that because I was skinny, I would not be able to finish it because it was HUGE. I told her that I do eat a lot (as you all know, hahaha) and besides, I had barely eaten all day so BRING IT ON. She seemed a bit taken-back before she shrugged and noted my order. Well, she wasn’t joking when she said that the mains were huge. My pasta was a massive mound as huge as Mt Vesuvius itself. Sadly, it was terrible. There was no flavour in the sauce which led me to believe that they used a dud olive oil. The shavings of Parmesan on top did nothing to make it taste better and so I had to heap a spoonful of that Kraft Parmesan cheese shite that was sitting on the table. It was horrible but because I was so hungry, I ate it all which prompted the waitress to go bonkers when she saw a clean plate. HA!
Adam’s penne calabrese ($20.90, main). If I thought mine was bad, his was 10 billion rungs below uber-shite. It was simply nothing more than a sauce made with canned tomato paste and salami which tasted somewhat off. For some reason, there was a metallic aftertaste every time I took a bite. Ohhh quelle horreur!
We both shared a serving of herb bread (three slices for $4.90). Again, nothing impressive and nothing that you can’t buy in the Latina pasta section of Safeway but surprisingly, this was the best part of our meal. Ick. Never again.