Pappardelle, bucatini amatriciana and puttanesca reign supreme at 1154, the slick new pasta place at the intersection of Cuba and Ghuznee Streets.
You already know it's good. Springing, seemingly fully-formed from the minds of Bresolin brother Leonardo alongside business partners, 1154 manager Kieran and pasta king Lucas, the fit-out feels super fresh, breathing Antipodean life into authentic Italian classics. We're here for two things: pasta and natural wine. And 1154 delivers beautifully on both counts.
The first time I visited 1154 Pastaria, the seating/ordering situation was confusing for a moment there. I get compulsive second-hand awkwardness at other restaurants when impatient diners skip the line and claim a table to the annoyance of the staff, who then have to manage expectations and rejig their reservations list. But, I soon worked out that the beauty of a little pasta place like 1154 is the open encouragement to nab a table as soon as you see a couple of spots open up — don't stand around waiting to catch someone's eye to be seated — just hop in. Even doing away with the table service, 1154 compromises none of the fast-paced fun of the experience. It's spontaneous. Be aware, though, that if you have a large group, you may be waiting longer than the duos for your plate of tagliatelle.
A compact menu covers off everything you'd want from a great pasta place. The menu is here so we'll spare you the exhaustive reel off, but it's all there. There is excellent meat sauce. Tortelloni tossed in brown butter. That cheeky puttanesca trio of capers, olives, and chilli. Sides of rocket greens. The sauces meld to the housemade pasta (cranked out by the upstairs pasta crew) like a dream, and the rosemary rolls (yes, order multiple) are fabulous for mopping up any juices. One thing we'll return again and again for is the flourless chocolate hazelnut cake — it's a damn ringer for The River Cafe's world famous chocolate nemesis dessert. So good.
The wine list is a groovy complement; the fresh, low-intervention flavours cutting through any richness from your bowl of pasta to give the meal balance. Nat wines are becoming more and more of a thing throughout the city and 1154 treats them especially well, sourcing a few labels from Italy for the list alongside more local offerings.
1154 is as solid a spot for some Friday night puttanesca and a glass of natural red as it is for a quick takeaway lunch when you forget your sandwich. Dash in and out, or stay a while.
The pastaria's duck egg blue walls and slick typography are the work of the restaurant's creative team, Prak from Precinct 35, and design studio Sunday Best. We're jonesing for one of the waiting staff's excellent pasta illustration tees, or perhaps the textile version of the pasta print hanging above the bench stools in the takeaway area. You know it's good when you'd buy the merch. Well played, 1154.