Pasta Wafu is a new Japanese pasta place in Darling Square. The menu is short (five pastas including one kid's pasta) and a short menu of sides and pasta seasonings. Fresh spaghetti gets paired with mentaiko aka pollock roe butter while fettucine is tossed with a miso bolognese sauce while a Napolitan has nori added to it (and is spelled Naporitan).
It's a windy, cold day when Ivy and I head towards Pasta Wafu for a hard earned lunch after a gruelling pilates session. We walk around Darling Square trying to locate the eatery before stumbling upon it in the Darling Exchange building with a range of other eateries. Pasta Wafu is by the teams behind Ume and Banksii and it is a casual looking place with everything served in cardboard bowls (including eat in).
Service is friendly and they make some recommendations. We're too late for the free add ons (parmesan, nori, katsuoboshi, spring onion, onsen egg, furikakae, shisho and bacon) between 11am-12pm but we order a couple of combination meals which is a choice of a pasta dish and a salad or renkon (lotus root) chips and a soft drink.
Servings are small but the pasta is rich so even with the sides and a pasta each we can't finish everything. The mentaiko pasta is something I fell in love with while living in Japan. It's a mentaiko (pollock roe) butter sauce with nori flakes and fresh spaghetti. The pastas do have a lovely texture to them and out of the two, we both prefer the mentaiko.
The miso bolognese is a great idea. I had first had it at Ryo's where it was super punchy and intense. This version is much lighter and needs some seasoning.
It could actually do with some parmesan or nori but these are extra and it feels strange having to pay for something to season a pasta that is underseasoned (also it's a pasta place so it seems strange to have to pay for parmesan). Instead we add the Shichimi Togarashi. The fettucine does have a great texture to it though.
The combination salad is a smaller version of the side dish with mizuna leaves, shavings of Grana Padano and a piquant sake lees vinegar.
The renkon chips are very addictive especially with the tomato salt sprinkled on them. I may have eaten more than my share of these.
Probably my favourite thing along with the mentaiko pasta and renkon chips is the karaage chicken with a splodge of Japanese mayonnaise. I add some more shichimi togarashi (I like either chilli or lemon with karaage) and enjoy the piping hot freshly cooked karaage.
There's no dessert on the menu but there are plenty of bubble tea and dessert places around!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried Japanese pasta? And would you just paid for the extra parmesan for your pasta?
This meal was independently paid for.
The Exchange, Shop 9/1 Little Pier St, Haymarket NSW 2000
Monday to Friday 11:30am–4pm, 5–9pm
Saturday & Sunday 12–4pm, 5–9pm
Phone: 0481 463 223