I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple of weeks now… I started it a little while ago and just wasn’t in the mood to finish it plus MS was home from work so I had (ok wanted to more like it) spend some quality time with him, plus it was Christmas. I get very little blogging done when MS is home because I have way too many distractions. I have the attention span of a goldfish (about 3-4 seconds) so when I do my posts I can’t have any distractions – that means silence and no Facebook. So yeah…
What was supposed to be a takeaway night for me on a Saturday including watching the final episodes of Dexter (yeah I still haven’t gotten around to it) on my living room couch turned into a family dinner at Fasta Pasta. Fasta Pasta was the place that I had originally planned to get my takeaway from since I had a craving for pasta and it was just down the road for me. I hadn’t actually been to Fasta Pasta in years but my ex (not the alcoholic/loser one) and I used to go there quite a bit and take advantage of their AU$9.90 lunch special (I think it’s gone up in price a little since then). At the time we found it to be quite good but like I said that was years ago. I have heard good things about Fasta Pasta over the last couple of years plus it’s always packed (but then again so is Sizzler). I’m pretty sure the Cairns branch of Fasta Pasta received a locally voted award for the ‘best service’ by The Cairns Post at some point. As you may have already guessed my family loves food, cooking and eating out just as much as I do (where do you think I got it from?) and they all jumped at the chance to go out no matter where it was – so we headed on down for a 7.30pm booking.
We arrived on time and took some seats at our table of 6 (5 of us plus my brothers girlfriend). The waitress bought us over some menus and a couple of baskets of bread with butter. As is the norm with me I had already had a good look over the menu on the net so I knew what I wanted. The rest of the group needed a little bit of time and by the time we went up to order at the counter there was a line of about 10 people waiting although the restaurant was only about 1/3 full. I guess it was a bit of a peak time for them – for ordering I mean. Anyway we all ordered our meals (some of us separately) but on the same table number. I ordered my meal last. The man taking the order whom I am assuming is the owner since he has been there ever since I can remember was super friendly and made some funny comment about my mum looking more like my sister than my mum. Mum’s love that kind of thing.
We sat down at the table and awaited our food happily lathering butter on our pieces of bread and eating them in the meantime. I had ordered a main sized Fettuccine Puttanesca which was fettuccine (der) with a tasty Mediterranean sauce of garlic, basil, capers, olives, anchovies, oregano, chilli and Napoli sauce for AU$13.40. Not exactly bank breaking prices here at Fasta Pasta that’s for sure. Much to my surprise my dish arrived first, before anyone else at the table, despite me ordering my meal dead last out of the 6 of us. I did the right thing and waited for everyone else’s dishes to arrive, because I have good manners (I like to think so anyway). The next meal didn’t arrive for another five minutes and it was a Margherita pizza that mum and dad had ordered to share between themselves. Another five minutes later my sisters Ravioli Milanese arrived and then over the next 10 – 15 minutes the rest of the meals arrived in a scattered mess. So much for bringing everything out in some sort of order or at least in a group so one person’s (namely mine) didn’t go cold whilst waiting for the others to arrive.
So anyway, eventually all of our meals arrived and we were able to eat our dinner, together (after I took photos of everyone’s meals of course). The main thing that attracted me to the Fettuccine Puttanesca was the fact that it was Fettuccine and the anchovies of course. I know you either love them or you hate them but I frigin love those little furry fish. Only just last week I found a huge bottle of anchovies in my mum and dad’s pantry (yes I have posted about eating anchovy’s out of the jar at their place before) and I got a little carried away trying to be sneaky and spilt half the contents of the jar including the oil through their cupboard. It took me a long time to clean up and was totally not worth the 2 or 3 furry fish that I got to eat. Serves me right for being sneaky I guess. Although I ordered a main serving I managed to gobble down the lot and still be hungry. It was a reasonable sized serve but I thought it should have been a little bigger for a main size. Having said that I really enjoyed my dish – however a little Tabasco sauce on it for a bit more flavour didn’t go astray. The pasta still had a bit of bite to it and tasted like freshly made pasta.
Across from me my sister had ordered an entrée sized Ravioli Florentina which was meat filled pillows of pasta, tossed with bacon, baby spinach and white wine in a Napoli and cream based sauce for AU$12.40. She reckons that is the same dish that she gets every time she goes to Fasta Pasta (which isn’t very often) and always enjoys it. In contrast to my main sized dish, her entrée was quite large. So much so that even she couldn’t finish it. Never mind – there were plenty of people at the table that were willing to give her a hand, like my dad or as I like to call him ‘Garbage Guts’. He’s a human Labrador that’s for sure.
My brother on the other hand wasn’t quite as happy as my sister and I with his pasta meal. He had ordered the Spirali Calabrese in a main size which was described as spirals of pasta sautéed with pepperoni, olives, chilli, garlic, basil, oregano, mozzarella and Napoli sauce for AU$14.40. I tasted it and it was pretty flavourless with not a whole lot going on. He doused it in parmesan cheese and then only ate half of it. For my brother to not eat all of his dinner then that says a lot to me because as a growing boy (he’s not even 20 yet) he has a massive appetite. He pushed it aside and finished off the remains of his girlfriend’s Canneloni.
I’m not a big fan of Cannelloni. Not because of anything to do with Fasta Pasta but more so because of the cannelloni that my ex’s mother (JC) used to make when we came over for dinner on occasion. Yes, I am talking about my ex again (the same one that I used to go to Fasta Pasta with). I am still very good friends with his parents, particularly his mum JC. You might remember that I wanted to take MS there for dinner but he thought it was a little weird to go to his girlfriend’s ex boyfriends parent’s place for dinner but he has since gotten over that as he has gotten to know them better. It’s only weird if you make it weird hey? So anyway JC used to make this cannelloni with heaps of onion and capsicum which just so happen to be two of my most hated foods at the time, only now to be overtaken by celery. Being the polite and well mannered individual that I am I always thanked her for dinner and told her how delicious it was. It was a vicious cycle because I was trying to do the right thing and show my gratitude for her cooking dinner while nearly gagging on this cannelloni and here JC is thinking ‘wow she must really love this cannelloni, I must cook it again next time’. It took about three years until I finally came clean that I really didn’t like JC’s cannelloni and it turns out that JC thought that the Pumpkin Risotto that I had cooked for her and her husband one night was equally disgusting. This was about seven years ago and I like to think that my risotto making skills have significantly improved. There you go – an insight into the impact that cannelloni has had in my life and something that JC and I still joke about. She reckons she will give me the recipe one day so I can cook it myself. Yay.
GH (my brothers girlfriend) thought her cannelloni was delicious, although she may have been being polite also. From closer inspection by me it looked like there was no onion or capsicum lurking in her dinner. The Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni was fresh pasta tubes filled with ricotta and spinach, oven baked in a Napoli sauce and served with basil, garlic and cream sauce for AU$15.40 for a main. It was a large serve and she couldn’t finish it all, hence why I said my brother finished it off when he didn’t want to eat his.
Next up was my mum and dad’s pizza was a Margherita Pizza – large size with fresh tomato slices on a tomato and mozzarella base topped with shaved parmesan and baked in the oven for AU$13.90. Hmmm, well, it was probably the worst pizza I have ever had whilst dining out. Except for a Hawaiian Pizza that I had in Phuket. You don’t order Western food in Asia IMO. Always stick to the local cuisine whatever that may be. This pizza that mum and dad had ordered tasted like a McCain’s pizza and a crappy one at that. The base was thick and hard like cardboard, the cheese tasted like plastic and the other toppings were so flavourless that only half of the pizza actually got eaten and that was more out of curiosity by the people at the rest of the table than anything else. It was truly horrible and how you could stuff a pizza up this bad was beyond me – even the human Labrador didn’t want it. I suspect it had been pulled straight from a box in the freezer.
Mum and dad also ordered a Puttanesca – the same as me – but mum changed the Fettuccine to normal pasta. She thought that the pasta was undercooked and didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. I wouldn’t exactly give them any points for presentation either. It just looked like all the meals had been slopped into their respective dish with no care really taken, not even a sprinkling of parsley around the edge (that’s a joke).
So there you go – our family dinner at Fasta Pasta wasn’t exactly a memorable one, not that we really expected it to be. I was hoping for a quick, tasty meal to cap off my week so I could go home and sit on the couch in my undies. I know that Fasta Pasta is a family restaurant and it is busy because of the fact that you can feed your whole family for between AU$50 and AU$100 – not to mention the friendly service from guy taking your orders at the counter. Another thing is that it’s also nice and loud in there so the kids can scream and do what they do and I doubt anyone would batt and eyelid. But… that doesn’t excuse the way our meals were staggered to arrive at our table over about a 20 minute period. I must admit it put a sour taste in our mouth pretty much from the get go. And that pizza! WTF?! The food at Fasta Pasta definitely represents good value for money however it’s not difficult to bring all the meals out at once so everyone can eat together! It might be good value but it certainly ain’t fast.
68-72 Shields Street, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4041 0388
Opening Hours: 7 days 11.30am – 3pm, Sun – Thurs 5pm – 10pm, Sat & Sun 5pm – 11pm