The State of Pasta offers delicious gourmet pasta dishes at a fraction of the price that you would find in most Italian restaurants around town. The atmosphere of the restaurant is quite casual and suitable for business lunches, impromptu catch ups with friends, and family friendly dining. I was pleasantly surprised by the attentive service from the staff and the owners, not to mention the quality of flavors in the food itself. The State of Pasta will be my new go-to when I have a pasta craving that needs satisfying.
I ventured into ‘The State of Pasta’ black and yellow building on a Saturday night, not really knowing what to expect. My first thought was that the exterior of the building didn’t do the interior justice. The tables and chairs were all uniformly set up, with a very clean, modern and minimalistic design. The restaurant considers itself an ‘Italian’ restaurant, however I would say not in a traditional romantic sense. The bright lighting, white walls and un-cushioned chairs reminded me of an IKEA showroom that served fast food, rather than a place that knew how to make quality handmade pasta. However, I did take a gander up the spiral steps to the second floor, which looked cozier with a lounge-y feel.
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The menu wasn’t too extensive and consisted of just a handful of choices, but i think it had the right amount of options. I get overwhelmed when there’s too much on a menu, and I prefer a smaller selection with some really great dishes than a menu stuffed with mediocre dishes. And though the flavors of the dishes were limited, each plate was customizable. The customer chooses what kind of pasta they want with their dish, how cooked the pasta is, and extra ‘toppings’ such as minced pork, parmesan cheese and bacon (for a minimal charge). I ordered the same flavor dish as one of my friends, but because of the choices we made, they came out to be two different tasting dishes.
The restaurant also offers handmade potato gnocchi, fresh lasagna and ravioli dishes, focaccia sandwiches and a few tasty looking vegetarian options. They also offered draft beer, wine by the bottle or glass, a large selection of Italian soda flavors and coffee. Though I thought I saw a fully stocked bar on the second floor, I didn’t notice a menu for mixed drinks.
The meal started off with complimentary focaccia bread accompanied by three dipping sauces, which were the traditional olive oil, fusionend mango-peanut chutney and a surprisingly delightful piment-ail. We ordered the ‘tomato and mozzarella in carrozza’ which came with a side salad. The mozzarella was breaded to be crunchy, but i thought it was a bit stale and could have done without it. The others seemed to enjoy it though, so maybe i’m just not a fried mozzarella expert (there goes that line of work).
I ordered the Creamy Lao Sausage with cooked macaroni (though it came slightly too al dente for my taste), topped with caramelized bell peppers in a creamy garlic sauce with a generous portion of Lao sausage. I also added extra parmesan cheese and bacon (because, duh) for just 10,000 kip extra. I can’t stress how much I LOVED MY PASTA DISH (see how i bolded, underlined and italicized? That’s how much i loved it.) From the first bite to the very last, I savored every mouthful. The homemade pasta made all the difference, and though the dishes were so simple, the flavors were elevated to the next level.
With two starters ( including the offered focaccia bread), four main dishes with the extras, three glasses of wine and one draft beer, the bill came to 295,000 kip and for what it was, it was worth every kip.
The State of Pasta is opened daily from 11AM to 10PM and is located along the Mekong opposite of Naked Espresso 2. Visit their facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thestateofpasta/ for more info.