Sophia Loren once attributed her ever youthful looks to a bowl of pasta a day. As she is a celebrity, it probably also involves a Petrossian caviar masque and a diamond dust exfoliant but I suppose that's giving away the real secret. If you are in the mood for some anti ageing Sophia Loren style, The Italian Bowl seems a suitable place to start. After a movie one Saturday night at the Dendy Newtown, we walk the three doors down to The Italian Bowl and it's long line snaking onto the footpath. Luckily most people are getting takeaway and we nab a seat opposite the counter where we are to order and where they cook the pasta in front of you.
Order and paying at the counter, I choose the Beef Tortellini with chicken peppercorns and the Spaghetti Bolognaise, a dish that when done well is a lovely comfort food but is often done badly. I must be blind or the font is hard to read but I miss the best deal, the combo with any choice or pasta and any veal or chicken dish ($18, seafood pasta $2 extra). I also order a Chinotto drink ($3), the Italian version of Coke, made from the bitter citrus Chinotto tree.
We're in a prime location to watch the pasta being cooked. It's all cooked furiously fast and fresh to order. The waiters are vocal, it seems that there's nothing that can be said unless it's shouted across the restaurant and takeaway customers have their numbers bellowed out and one unfortunate takeaway customer gets an impatient chastising as the waiter calls her number out a few times to collect her order. In the kitchen area itself, there's much clanging, yelling and high licking flames and within 5 minutes, we're presented with our pasta dishes.
The beef tortellini with chicken peppercorn sauce has a good amount of tender chicken breast scattered throughout it. Even as a garlic lover, I find the sauce a tad too heavy on the garlic and whilst it's creamy there aren't enough peppercorns in it to balance out the other flavours. When you do come across a green peppercorn and it explodes in your mouth, suddenly you think "Ahhh this is nice, if only there were more peppercorns." Perhaps in the frenzy of cooking to order so many dishes, balance is haphazardly applied.
The Spaghetti Bolognaise is next, we can see straight away that it is very watery and with a small amount of mince and only mince. I prefer a thicker tomato sauce and some bacon or carrot in the bolognaise sauce and I find this disappointing. Trying to thicken or flavour it up with parmesan improves it a little but not enough. The pasta itself is a little overcooked too which is something I cannot stand. It has to be al dente or nothing. I leave most of this behind and my husband reluctantly finishes this.
We spied a tiramisu at another table, a large sundae glass filled with creamy mascarpone and sponge ($8). Unfortunately there isn't enough stomach space to fit this in. We might be back for the Combo deal at a later stage but will steer clear of the Spaghetti Bolognaise.
The Italian Bowl
255 King Street Newtown
Tel: +61 (02) 9516 0857
Open 7 days from 10:30am-10:30pm
Except weekends 10:30am- 11:30pm