Pasta & Cuore (Italian for heart) is most likely a place you’ve walked past in Mt Eden and slotted in the back of your mind. Someday it’ll be a nice place to go. It’s not fancy, not a cafe for your brunch dates.
The charm of the restaurant catches people even as you walk past and see the fresh pasta being made. Sold by the gram, plenty of people come in to takeaway (cozy dinners in – check!). Stepping foot in the busy restaurant, I was greeted by warm hellos from every staff member, even from those making fresh pasta at the window. Italian accents flew out everywhere.
The handmade cardboard menus continue the charm, upon first page declaring “Spaghetti bolognese doesn’t exist”. You’ll happily know your fork won’t be shovelling sauce soaked pasta, à la supermarket style. Pasta & Cuore’s focus is more on the cuisine of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna – think the home of parma ham, tortellini and parmesan cheese. Simple with intentional clean flavours.
Bruchetta with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and cherry tomato on sourdough bread
Their portions lean towards being filled just right (or light if you eat fast). Unless you have something rich and cheesy like the lasagne, it means you’ll have room for an appetiser or dessert.
Italian charcuterie board with soft cheese and tigelle (small round flat bread, crisp on the outside, soft and steamy inside)
Over a couple of visits, thanks to friends who love to share (are we even friends if not?), I’ve had the pleasure of trying their bolognese, mushroom gnocchi, lasagne, creamy Gorgonzola Lombardo spaghetti and meatballs. My favourite was the texture of the bolognese and the flavour of the gnocchi sauce – which was tantalisingly a bit spicy. I loved that none of the pasta drowned in the sauce, which showed off the homemade pasta.
The service was exceptional. Even on a busy night that was Valentines Night, the staff didn’t rush the service. As I was unfamiliar with Italian wines, the waitress brought out a tasting glass to make sure I really loved the wine she recommended – even though I insisted I trusted her knowledge!
Without a doubt, I would return to Pasta & Cuore. It’s the closest invite you will get to an Italian homemade meal in Auckland. If the charm of the Italian accent doesn’t sweep you away, the food will. Priced around $26 for the pasta portion, it has a slightly elevated price point but it’s well justified.
Pasta & Cuore
409 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden
Ph: (09) 630 9130