a There are times when restaurant openings and closings on the Carter Road stretch seems more like a game of musical chairs than serious business. And then, a small eatery like Pastaa Bastta opens, and you wish it’d stay open and not down shutters in a few months. That is because this latest Italian joint makes yummy and affordable fare that are all packed into paper boxes. One can sit and eat at the few bar stools packed into this tiny joint, or simply order a takeaway.
Owned by Emiliano Collazo -- an Argentinian who has made Mumbai his home and former advertising professional Mukti Kaicker, PB, which has come up in the same space that used to be called Open Affairs is barely a week old, but it’s packed with patrons when we land up on a Tuesday evening.
We start our order with the Spaghetti with basil herb sauce (Rs 165). The pasta strands are coated well with basil pesto though there are very few bits of zucchini and mushrooms thrown in. The Penne Bolognese (Rs 210) has enough mince to make us happy and the spicy sauce is a good foil for the comparatively bland spaghetti carbonara (Rs 210). Perhaps this doesn’t travel as well, because the heavy cream has started to harden by the time we start eating, and the bacon pieces are few.
But the Penne in Arrabiatta Sauce (Rs 150) makes up for the disappointment of the Carbonara. We order this as a DIY, choosing the pasta and the sauce, while the veggies are thrown in as part of the deal. It is spicy (we asked for a hot sauce), there was a decent sprinkling of veggies and the palate favoured the flavour. But the star of the meal is the Bocconcini salad (Rs 190). Salad leaves, firm cherry tomatoes and generous portions of mozzarella are smothered in balsamic and herb vinaigrette that is just right.
While Pastaa Bastta has got the pricing right for the kind of food it serves and the portions, it should consider adding a little bit more of veggies and meat to the pasta. If we start to count, there are no more than half a dozen small bits of zucchini and half a mushroom in one of the veg pastas. The meat ones fare much better. Emiliano who was a partner at Zenzi before this and his master chef (who has the pedigree of having worked at Olive before this) have done a good job so far. Perhaps their staff need to be trained a wee bit better in math, but we are sure that will happen over time.