Pasta Café: By Brian Baxter
Spacious Restaurant Specializing in Italian Food
The simplicity of its name – Pasta Café - somewhat belies
the overall feel of this well-established eatery—they have
been in business for over four years— one of many off the
Nimmenhaeminda Road, (Soi 5 in this case). It has the
advantage of occupying a very large plot, with a pleasant
surrounding garden and a decent sized area for parking. The
result is a quite tranquil environment, enhanced by the
quiet background music.
The actual restaurant divides into two main areas, an
outdoor section flanked by the garden and an air conditioned
dining room in two parts, one near the bar and a second,
which I prefer, just off that. A restaurant for all seasons.
I’ve eaten there a few times over the past two or three
years but for the purpose of this review I went back twice
within a period of about ten days, once with an Australian
and, for the second visit, with a Thai student. It allowed
for a different dining experience and a choice of food,
overall menu and wine.
On the first occasion I opted for one of the set menus at
250 baht. It went as follows: - bruschetta with finely diced
tomatoes, (two pieces—enough to share), a mixed salad with a
balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing, (the only dressing
as far as I am concerned is a vinaigrette, not those thick
‘spreads’ so beloved by Americans), a pasta dish, a small
ice cream and a choice of tea or fresh coffee, which I
passed to my friend since I don’t enjoy hot drinks with
food. He declared the coffee ‘excellent’. The salad was
fresh, the pasta al dente with a spicy tomato sauce and the
ice cream worthy of Italy and served with a small slice of
warmed brownie. I thought the meal good value. With it we
drank a half litre carafe of the basic house wine. This was
certainly drinkable once the chill had lessened but it was
not nearly as good as the ‘superior’ house wine that I had
on the following visit. This was priced at 420 baht as
opposed to 300 for the alternative and was well worth the
extra 60 baht a head on the bill. There are, of course,
innumerable other drinks on offer, including beers, soft
drinks and other wines.
A week or so later we went for a choice of menu, (there are
about four set ones), and I chose a ‘special’ from the
regularly changing board. This was a salad with scallops,
(160 baht). My companion went for the sautéed clams served
with garlic bread. Both were pleasant and served in very
generous portions. As a ‘main’ we naturally went for pasta –
from a quite daunting array listed in the large menu. There
are other choices, including a few fish and meat dishes but
they seem somewhat superfluous as does the small selection
of so-called Thai dishes tucked away at the back of the
menu. Mine was penne arrabiatta with tuna and he went for
the linguine with, (allegedly), spicy crab sauce. Neither
was as spicy as indicated, despite that being checked on
when ordering. This may hardly be a criticism for many
people; nor, I guess, would be my comment that the portions
are over generous. We each left about a third of the food,
not because it was bad but simply because it was too much to
eat. Memo – go when you are hungry! This did not stop us
ending the meal with a delicious sorbet. As mentioned, we
had a carafe of wine – a Chardonnay—and with the pasta I
also tried a glass of the Shiraz from their ‘superior’
selection. Each showed that a little extra spent on wine
makes sense, since the basic costs of shipping, marketing,
etc are much the same and the extra cost is largely
reflected in the quality of the actual wine.
The Pasta Café has comfortable seating and well sized
tables, spaced apart. The staff are attentive and only the
bringing out of the main course a little too soon showed
that the chef was perhaps not busy enough on a Sunday
evening. By the way, they are closed on Mondays. The range
of pastas is impressive and if, like me, you enjoy Italian
food as an alternative to Thai this is definitely one for
your list. There are more ‘exciting’ Italian restaurants in
town but they are in the main considerably more expensive
and usually have more constricted space and a more formal
Pasta Café. Soi 5 off Nimmenhaemeninda Road.
Thai Potato Salad Recipe
Potato salad has probably been around since
there were cultivated potatoes, and that is supposedly from Peru several
thousand years ago. Over the centuries, home cooks have embellished the dish,
and here is one with a remarkable Thai flavor.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the potatoes (skins on).
Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from pot and let cool enough to handle, but still
warm. Remove skins and cut potatoes into 3 cm sized cubes.
Put potatoes in to a large bowl. Add the vinegar and then the finely chopped
pickles. Now add chopped coriander, bell pepper (capsicum), celery, scallions
and hard boiled eggs.
In a separate small bowl, mix mayonnaise with mustard. Add salt and pepper to
taste. Mix in the dressing with the potato mixture. Again, salt and pepper to
This is best refrigerated before serving.
Potatoes, mid sized
Dill pickles finely chopped 3 tbspns
Red bell pepper chopped ½ cup
Hard boiled eggs, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
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