I had been longing for gourmet Italian food for about a week or two, when a friend called wanting to organise a catch-up dinner that weekend. It’s as if she telepathically sensed my cravings – I wasn’t complaining, though! Of course I called shotgun of where we would dine out, that being Borsa Pasta Cucina. After all, what better way to soothe the soul on a freezing Friday night than eating il cibo Italiano? Tucked away in the nook of Grenfell St. in Adelaide’s bustling CBD, Borsa Cucina is seemingly hidden from the public eye. As I’d heard good things about the restaurant months earlier, I was eager to have a suss myself, and found my experience exceptionally pleasant.
I walked into Borsa Cucina with high hopes, and seeing the overwhelming amount of patrons seated was a promising sign. What I first noticed upon arrival was the gallery kitchen overlooking the seating area. I absolutely love open kitchens in restaurants; not only because I’m nosey and like to see what’s going on behind the scenes, but because I feel they immerse both the customers and chefs in an intimate dining experience. Being a full house that night, we took a seat at the bar and waited for our 8pm reservation. Eating at this hour reminded me of when I traveled to Italy, where the locals ate late at night due to their ‘siesta’, where everyone shut shop and went home to feast during the afternoon.
My stomach was quietly grumbling by this point as I could smell the glorious food nearby being served. Going by the looks and portion sizes of the dishes, I knew I was in for a good meal. In the mean time, we ordered a cocktail each and chatted to the friendly bartender. I chose the Sgroppino, which was lemon sorbet mixed with vodka, topped with prosecco, while my two friends ordered Aperol Spritz, topped with prosecco and a splash of soda. We were seated within five minutes.
It was hard to ignore the loud noise which filled the room. The seating arrangements were slightly crammed and I found myself having to raise my voice considerably in order to be heard. The decor was retro; a style I certainly did not expect from a semi-formal restaurant. The long glass windows looking out onto the miniature water fountains in the piazza added a beautiful touch to the night’s mood.
For our entree, the mix plate was ordered. Check out the variety of antipasto in the photo below, I was in heaven. Each component on the dish was distinct in its texture and flavour. I’m not usually one to praise basic vegetables like cucumber and cauliflower; but I’ll make an exception in this case. The vinegar that blended through them had an ideal level of acidity and freshened my pallet considerably, in contrast to the more dense options such as the cheese and potato croquettes.
After we happily demolished the mixed plate, we eagerly awaited our main courses. In case you hadn’t noticed from its name, the restaurant specialises in pasta and only offers two varying options for its mains. Each choice on the menu had a slight twist on traditional home-style recipes. I opted for the Pappardelle con maiale alla toscana, which was braised Berkshire pork with black olives. Being Italian, I can be quite picky with how my pasta is cooked; however, I was impressed with this dish’s standard. Overall, the meal was similar to a slow cooked stew, minus the veggies. The pappardelle was my favourite, thick in texture and cooked al-dente. There was no shortage of pork on my plate which was pleasing, and I loved how the mild sauce soaked through each piece of meat. I was content with my choice of pasta, although it differed from my usual choice of anything with spice. My two friends ordered the Penne alla parmigana and Spaghetti con vognole – more traditional pasta styles. I couldn’t help myself and sampled both. From what I tasted, I would certainly choose one of the two on my next visit. It’s important to note that all the pasta at Borsa Cucina is hand-made, contributing to its overall authenticity.
As the portions were more than generous, we were left sitting with our jeans unzipped unable to finish our meals. After a more than satisfying meal, it’s safe to say Borsa Cucina was an exemplary choice for dinner that night. I recommend you pop in and struggle to choose a pasta dish like I did. Its convenient location in the CBD means you can take a nice stroll after lunch or dinner and try to shed a few of the kilos you would’ve gained from your meal. Or find a local bar and have a drink – make a night out of it.
Share your thoughts if you can stop yourself from drooling over the pictures above. Until next time,