Autumn will forever be my favourite season purely because I feel less guilty about indulging in carby meals that leave me feeling full for longer. I also enjoy being tucked away in a restaurant with the smell of Italian food lingering, because quite frankly, this girl simply can’t get enough. So truth is, this must be my 5th or 6th time time visiting Pasta Di Piazza and even now, I simply can’t get enough of their portion sizes. Back in 2016 I wrote a blog post about my first time visiting this gorgeous little independent and I stick to my statement that this cute little fragment of Italy based in the the JQ warms my cockles. Bearing in mind the only other Italian I dare to eat at now in the city centre is Laghi’s Deli – based at Islington Row Middleway, just off Five Ways island. These two combined make for a great night of foodie heaven.
As mentioned in my previous post, the unpretentious exposed brick work (which some restaurants pay thousands for) and the seductive, dim lit aesthetic makes you feel like you’re stepping out of the city and into Italian culture. Even now the consistent red rose theatrics on tables and bottles of wine on the walls makes the surrounding decor ooze date-night worthy. For this specific night we arrived, it was a Tuesday, 5PM, and we were the first to make an entrance. We were sat next to the window with the last of the autumn light peering through; and ultimately is the best way to people watch as they leave work. Staff were pottering around cleaning glasses, setting up for the night, so we expected the rush by the time 7pm came.
Antipasti – Pasta Di Piazza
The purpose of the visit was to experience another three course meal, including drinks, with the intention of sampling something different from the menu. The item that I hadn’t spotted before was the Crab meat & Smoked Salmon (£11.95) – which is a very basic dish of white crab meat on a bed of avocado salad, topped with smoked salmon and extra virgin olive oil. With more extravagant options on the antipasti menu, there’s no doubt I felt rather boring choosing it but didn’t want anything to filling as I was excited for a huge pasta dish afterwards. The portion size was generous, and the meat was juicy and tender as you would expect. I feel this is a light, refreshing starter to have and didn’t leave my stomach bulging afterwards but personally I’m still not sure if it’s worth over £10 for this starter alone. Josh chose from the specials menu – Marinara Mistro (£7.50) which was a plate packed full of crispy king prawn, calimari and white bait. All the fried foods please – the smell from this was incredible and I would order this again in a heartbeat.
Main Courses – Pasta Di Piazza
With a menu as big as the one at Pasta Di Piazza, prior experience shows that it can take a while to thumb through the options. Instead of rush ordering, I suggest sampling the bread, olive and oil selection first so you’re not ordering on an empty stomach (which I have the habit of doing oh so often). On this occasion I decided to steer away from the pizza and opt for a rice based dish. There really are some great sounding pastas on the menu – most which make me salivate just reading about them. It was the Risotto Alla Marinara (£14.50) – an Italian rice with marinated king prawns and seafood mix in olive oil, garlic and tomato sauce with a touch of tabasco which sounded like it would fill a hole. I asked for an extra sprinkle of Parmesan on top to give that tiny kick as the tomato base looked fairly runny. I’m not sure how anyone can make a risotto look photogenic – but thankfully the taste made up for the presentation. Morsels of fish scatter around the rice giving the dish added flavour and the tang from the tabasco gave it that little push in the right direction.
Josh on the other hand wanted a simplistic dish to complement the Malbec wine. As a person who tends to order a spicy pizza of the sort, I was surprised when he ordered The Spaghetti Bolognese (£11.95) which was served in a rounded plate, and packed a meaty punch. With an added sprinkle of Parmesan on top also, I feel it’s incredibly difficult to get a spaghetti bolognese wrong – but thankfully Pasta Di Piazza always seem to deliver on their dishes. Again, I’m not sure how I feel about ordering spaghetti bolognese as it’s a dish we tend to make ourselves at home, nonetheless our meals were of good quality and tasted fresh. I wouldn’t scream that our meals were exceptional as I feel it’s hard to say that about pasta anywhere other than Rome – but I would have preferred a touch more garlic in mine.
Dessert at Pasta Di Piazza
With just enough room for dessert, or as the Italians would say – ‘Dolci’ – we made sure to stay away from the
Thanks to the staff who took the time to explain our orders to us and for the fast, efficient service. It’s really hard to find a solid Italian in any busy city centre, so I’m really glad we have such a wonderful gem hidden away in the JQ. There’s a good reason as to why the place fills up so quickly and always seems packed with happy customers. We spotted some people even eating on their own, which is fab as it shows it’s a place for everyone to experience and enjoy. Everything from the service to the decor, the food to the wine is pretty great. A fast favourite of ours, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and try something new off the menu as I know it’ll be just as pleasing.
11 Brook St, Birmingham B3 1SA
Please note: I was invited to Pasta Di Piazza to try their menu options with complimentary meals, drinks and puddings with a guest. As usual, all opinions are 100% honest and are my own.