If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be pasta. I love pasta, and true love lasts a lifetime. So I was beyond excited to hear that Pasta Station, a new deli specialising in fresh, handmade pasta, was opening up about five minutes from our flat (it’s honestly that close, I may actually end up living on the stuff for the rest of my life) and hotfooted it down there as soon as it opened to find out more.
|Bath’s newest fresh pasta deli – isn’t that a brilliant idea?|
Perched right on the corner of The Paragon and Broad St, where the single table in the window has a great view all the way down George St (perfect for people-watching), Pasta Station reminds me of a sweetshop but better, with beautiful shades and shapes of pasta arranged in neat rows like a pick and mix counter. Fresh tortelli, jaunty little hats in soft beetroot pink, the golden curls of fusilli, gnocchi in fat little pillows, spinach tagliatelle like silk ribbons in elegant pale jade – it’s impossible to choose. All the pasta is made freshly every day, with dainties like tortelli shaped and filled by hand, every single one, by expert pasta chef Luca and his assistants. Stand there for a while and you can watch them work, swiftly and surely turning simple ingredients into art that you can eat. On the opposite wall, you’ll find a carefully chosen selection of Italian jarred pasta sauces, or further down the counter, you can pick up local free-range eggs (from Castlemead Poultry, via local legends Walter Rose & Son), fresh Italian cheeses (amazingly, made in Wiltshire by De Luca Mozzarella) and charcuterie from southern Italy, for an almost-instant carbonara – so that’s dinner taken care of.
|Every single tortelli is filled and folded by hand|
For lunch, you can pop in for their ‘express’ menu – a selection of different pasta dishes, starting from just £4 for a pot (you could pay that much in the supermarket for something vastly inferior – save yourselves and hit Pasta Station instead, I beg you), pizza from nearby partner restaurant Piattino, and freshly-filled panini. A counter at the back with a single long bench means you can perch and eat your lunch in the bright and busy deli, or as the weather gets warmer, take your pot of goodies away for a picnic in the park – don’t forget to pick up some cannoli or sfogliatella for dessert, with a proper Italian coffee.
|A spectacularly delicious lunch|
In true Italian style, co-owner Carmine ushered me to the table in the window (it’s my table now, hands off) and plied me with tasters of everything – my particular favourite was the spinach tortelli, filled with soft ricotta and asparagus, and dressed with truffle oil and grated parmesan, which smelled gorgeous and tasted even better, with all the flavours in perfect balance. I also enjoyed casareccia, made with chickpea flour (there’s a whole range of gluten-free and egg-free pastas on offer, so whatever your predilection is you’ll be catered for, although the tiny kitchen unfortunately makes it impossible to be truly coeliac-friendly) and served with a simple, delicious ragu.
Of course, it’s not just the sensational food that makes Pasta Station – it’s the whole attitude of the place. Carmine is keen to tell me that their primary motivation is their passion for pasta, and that’s clear to see, through their meticulous approach to sourcing ingredients (it’s fantastic to see them working with local partners, and to hear how much they love the independent scene in Bath), the time they take to chat to each customer about what to pair with different pasta shapes and how to cook them, and the fact that they’ve built up a list of regulars already (despite only being open a few weeks). Truly, this is a wonderful little place. For devoted pasta addicts like me, anyone seeking a little taste of Italy to tide you over til your next holiday, or those who simply want to pick up something quick, easy and delicious for dinner on the way home from work, I think Pasta Station is going to become very popular indeed.