Sunday, October 10, 2004



The aroma of tomato, basil, oregano, garlic, onions, pepperoni, and cheese wafted down the corridor and triggered furious rumbles in my empty tummy. Pasta! Pizza! I walked closer and saw a Pastamania outlet full of customers. Ok, that's it. I set my mind on Pastamania for dinner. Alas, the quality of the food miserably failed to live up to the wonderful aroma it produced. I haven't had such lousy pasta in a long time.

This was my second visit to
Pastamania. I had a good impression of it after my first visit to the Funan Centre outlet. The service was friendly and efficient, prices were reasonable, and the food was served about 3 minutes after ordering. And the pasta I had was tasty, not awesome like those served in Italian restaurants, but good enough for a quick and casual and cheap lunch.

But my experience at the HarborFront outlet was dismal. Disappointment 1: the garlic bread, which had been prepared in advance, was cold and dry.

Chicken lasagne. S$9.30. Uninspiring mess. Never mind, I thought. It might taste better than it looks.

Disappointment 2: The lasagne was a blob of sticky, uneven mess of pasta, cheese and meat sauce. The flat noodles were evenly cooked; too soft in the middle and hard near the edges. There was too much cheese, making the dish overly salty and gooey. The lasagne was drowned in way too much tomato sauce. This dish was obviously not a labor of love.

Tuna and pea pasta. S$5.90. This was a new dish from the promotional menu.

Disappointment 3: The linguine was overcooked when it should have been al dente. The tomato-based sauce lacked depth of flavor; it was also very thin in consistency. Obviously, the cook used canned tuna, which typically has a sour tang, and forgot to balance out the acidity of the tomato sauce. Result? A sauce that is too salty and sour. I've tasted much better tuna pasta elsewhere.

Working through the tuna pasta, I noticed that the sauce was very oily. I started to shake the sauce off the noodles.

Look at this pool of oil. Whoever responsible for this must have dumped the entire can of tuna in oil into the tomato sauce. Couldn't he/she have drained some of the oil off first?

All in, a disappointing experience. Appearances, and smells, can be deceptive. I sure hope this is an isolated incident for Pastamania. The servers could not be faulted on their service; they were quick and efficient even though it was a busy night. But having to cope with a large crowd is no excuse for a slide in the standard of the food. You can be sure I'll be staying away from the Pastamania outlet at Harborfront from now.



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