Borsa Pasta Cucina - it bores'a me

Borsa Pasta Cucina - 1/25 Grenfell St, Adelaide

Looking for a lunch time option one weekday, I decided to give Borsa Pasta Cucina a go knowing it was new to the Adelaide scene.

Menu signage
Upon entering Borsa, the feel of the space is hard to explain apart from being 'Old school Italian'. The furniture and design aesthetic has an old school feel which is hard to place based on its location (Black Stump building on Grenfell) which is quite modern in its feel.

Complimentary bread, olive oil, parmesan and chilli
I arrive with two other friends and we decide that we will order three different dishes to share. We place our orders and are provided with our complimentary bread and accompaniments. Typically, I am used to being given bread with olive oil and balsamic however on this occasion we were given parmesan, oil and chilli. The combination was new to me, but I really enjoyed it with the chilli providing some nice spice to cut through the strong parmesan.

Spaghetti con Aglio Olio e peperoncino ($19)
First up on the menu was the Aglio Olio (garlic, chilli and olive oil). For a dish this simple, I expect each of the ingredients to make a statement however this was a disappointment. The pasta was very al dente to the point that it was almost uncooked, a sentiment that was shared with my two friends. Perhaps it was my mistake for ordering this dish!

Fettuccine Alla Bolognese ($23)
Second on the menu was the Alla Bolognese (veal, pork and tomato ragu). My friend (who is Italian), mentioned that a bolognese is usually her gauge of how good a pasta restaurant is given that it is a basic pasta which everyone does. Upon arrival, you can tell that the pasta is hand made with a very rustic feel. Overall, its a very basic bolognese with simple ingredients and flavours. The three of us enjoyed this dish, but I still feel it could have done with a little more punch - again, this may be my personal preference.

On a separate occasion, fellow blogger, Hayes, along with his workmates visited Borsa Pasta in the same week. Hayes ordered the same dish mainly because it was a dish that he was familiar with and also it was one of few items on the menu that used fresh pasta. Based on his experience, the pasta came out steaming hot only a few minutes after they had consumed the complimentary bread.

The texture of the pasta was magnificent, chewy, yet soft, basically the definition of al dente. The sauce on the other hand was a quite boring/bland....According to the menu, the main ingredients of this dish were veal, pork in tomato ragu, however, there were only a few pieces of carrot floating around and the rest of the dish tasted like a sprinkle of salt.

Simple but bland, not what was expected for the $23 lunchtime price-tag. The serving size was also not large enough to make Hayes full - yes, some would say pasta is not a main meal, but when you are charging $23 for lunch, it better be fillingl.

Gnocchi con pomodoro ($21)
Third on the menu was the gnocchi with tomato, garlic and basil. The gnocchi was made well and kept its form rather than being stodgy. There was a sufficient amount of sauce with a hint of chilli which added some spice to the dish to break through the uniform tomato flavours.

The following 2 dishes were ordered by Hayes' workmates. Whilst Hayes did not get to taste these dishes, his workmates liked the dishes but were not wowed by anything. You can be the judge from just looking at the pics.

Penne con Salsicce in Bianco
Orechietti Con Piselli
Overall, the dishes at Borsa did not provide me with an urge to visit again. Maybe it was due them still being new and trying to work out their flavours, maybe it was the price or a combination of the both. I know of many more Italian restaurants in Adelaide that are of a similar price point which I would choose to visit. Having said this, there are not that many in the CBD that are providing the large range that Borsa has.

Food: 6.5/10 - solid items that need a little more refinement
Ambiance: 3/5 - still felt unfinished and a little old school for the location. Also beware of the occasional waft of kitchen smoke as the air vent is right above the entrance. The expelled smoke pulls itself back into the premises ensuring you smell like one of the kitchen staff.
Service: 3/5 - solid service and knowledgeable staff

Overall, Mirko and Hayes give Borsa 12.5/20 chops on The Chopping Board. Give it some time and I think that this place could be a winner in the CBD Italian market.

  Borsa Pasta Cucina on Urbanspoon


  1. Sounds like the previous blogger ate at a different restaurant to the one I have eaten at on three separate occasions. I just love the food - which I find is full of flavour. Will certainly be visiting again and again

  2. I tend to agree with the previous comment. I was completely blown away by the food and service at Borsa Pasta Cucina, and I thought the decor was really cool - it's 'old school' yes but I am guessing that is what they were after, it feels like you have stepped into your Nonna's house, but in a trendy way. I am also from an Italian background and thought the food was a perfect example of authentic, homestyle Italian food. I will be back asap!


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