The place was pretty nicely turned-out, with jars of olives and other little touches that gave you a level of confidence that you were going to be served something of good quality. Having contemplated the extensive, Mediterranean menu for a moment, I asked one of the counter staff what the soup of the day was. I opted for the chicken broth, rather than the minestrone, then added a hummus, olive and pepper roll, for good measure.
This was where the problems started. There was no question as to what type of roll I would like; they just proceeded to start preparing a rather well-fired looking white baguette. Then my soup was ladled out in to its container, then placed in a microwave, to be nuked into life. I was singularly unimpressed.The roll, once made, was painstakingly wrapped in cling-film on their quirkily old-style cling-filming gizmo. Then the nuked soup was wrapped in cling-film, as well. This was just plain weird. I toddled down the road full of trepidation for the food I was about to eat.
Once back in the office, I first attended to the soup. The layer of oily grease ringing its surface was not a good start. I mixed thoroughly with my spoon, uncovering a promising looking amount of shredded chicken and barley. Sadly, the taste test was totally unsatisfactory. It was entirely bland, like any vestige of flavour had been nuked out of it. It was way too hot, as well, and no matter how long I patiently waited for it to cool, it had a sense of having been scalded. It was a disaster of a dish, one that would have been sent back had I been sitting in.The roll was too well-fired, as I’d suspected. The contents were an upgrade on the soup, although the hummus was a little sharp for my tastes. The roll was not bulging with filling, but it could be described as reasonably adequate.
My mouth had been burned by soup, then scratched up by over-crusty roll. This is not how a mouth should feel after a tasty lunch.
Overall, there isn’t a chance I’ll be going back to Pasta Fresca. I can confidently say that it’s the worst place I’ve visited on my quests, so far. They charge the exact same price as the New Town Deli, for soup and a filled roll. The difference in quality is an ocean the width of the Pacific. Luckily, I still had the prospect of pizza and karaoke to brighten my Friday, otherwise I would have been entering the weekend in very lowly spirits.
Blythe scores Pasta Fresca
2/5 for food
2/5 for presentation
2/5 for service
3/5 for setting
giving an overall 9/20
Today’s lunch quester was: Blythe
I ate: chicken broth, hummus, olive and pepper baguette
I drank: nothing
I wore: second favourite Duchamp tie
Total bill: £4.85