Hungry Wellingtonians will know that when you’re looking for a place to eat, Cuba Street is a must. The famous street has been home to many great cafes and restaurants over the years and has recently had a new addition to the family.1154 Pastaria is the new kid on the block and they have settled in nicely right on the corner of Cuba and Ghuznee Street. The recently strengthened building is a wonderful balance of new and old, with beautifully refurbished elements like the stain glass windows that give you a hint of the old Hallenstein Brothers Clothing Company that once stood here for 50 years.
1154 AD was the year of the first clear reference to dry pasta, and the way that it is made still remains much the same in the 1154 kitchen. Yes, pasta is a simple dish but simple things done well are truly the best and here they make the pasta fresh every day. The type of service is positioned somewhere between a casual restaurant and fast counter service/take-away so it is the perfect place to pop in for a dinner with a group or grab a quick bite to eat in-between shopping or before you head off to a show.
The menu is simple: you have “Pasta”, you have “Not Pasta” and you have freshly baked bread to make sure there is no sauce left behind. The Pasta menu consists of eight different types from tortelloni to fettuccine and of course your classic bolognese. The bolognese here highlights the natural flavours of the quality meat used and is served with thin ribbons of Pappardelle topped off with a healthy dose of Grana Padano parmesan. The “Not Pasta” menu has a range of add ons and compliments. Add to your sauce a range of ingredients including chilli, olives, capers, and anchovies or compliment your meal with a rocket salad or some seasonal greens and don’t forget the bread roll to mop it all up. Breaking the bread at the table and sharing it round is an Italian tradition and something that they have replicated perfectly. The bread is baked in a large loaf every day which is then broken up in the kitchen throughout the night and shared among strangers.
The idea of sharing is also translated well by the large table that spans the length of the restaurant where groups can be seated together. Bright and spacious the restaurant has a nice variation of seating to choose from. A recommendation would be to sit in a window seat for the ultimate view of the hustle and bustle on Cuba Street. Sit back and relax with a cold beverage from their refined selection of house made soda’s, craft beer or choose from the organic wine list. Finish off with something sweet and you will have yourself the perfect comfort meal on a night out. It is a unique style of dining and it is one that works. The key to their success is they have chosen one thing and they have done it well, and that is all that needed to be done.
Photos by Rhett Hornblow