Situated on the busy strip of King Street in Newtown is a small Italian eatery known as The Italian Bowl. I first tried The Italian Bowl a year ago, and came back for a second time, in the search of some affordable and good quality pasta.
Menu at The Italian Bowl
The setup of The Italian Bowl is rather simple. The décor is plain, just tables and chairs, with some stools that give you the option of sitting at the bar to watch the food being prepared. The side wall is lovingly covered with handwritten scrawls in black markers from satisfied customers.
Register where you place your orders
The seating area was quite narrow, and would only be able to seat about 20 customers or less than that. We came during the lunch hour on a Monday, so it wasn't too busy when we arrived. There were a few customers dining inside, and as we ate, more came. It didn't get too busy during the time that we were there, but there were always people around.
'The writing's on the wall', handwritten messages on the walls of The Italian Bowl.
The Italian Bowl is similar to a fast food style approach as customers place their orders at the cashier and pay for their food first. The price of food at The Italian Bowl ranges from $10-$16 for pasta, $16 for risotto, and $15-$17 for meat dishes. There is also a children's menu, side dishes and salads available; but the main focus of The Italian Bowl is the pasta.
Freshly prepared pasta
The woman at the cashier greeted me politely but a little coldly. I noticed that she didn't smile when she took mine and my friend's orders, but she went through all the normal ritualised courtesies.
The server who brought our food was much more warm and polite.
Several pasta shape options are available including gnocchi, fettuccine, spaghetti, linguine, beef ravioli, and penne. Being quite partial to potato gnocchi, I select the gnocchi paired with Primavera ($12).
'Primavera' meaning 'Spring' in Italian, and is a cream pasta sauce with vegetables. It was a less well known option in comparison with the more commonplace bolognese that I'd eaten so often as a child. The cooking time was very fast, and was brought to my table by a member of staff. The gnocchi was cool enough to be eaten straight away. The texture of the gnocchi was springy and light, complemented by the creaminess of the white sauce. Although the sauce was creamy, it wasn't too heavy on the stomach. The vegetables included small pieces of broccoli, carrot, tomatoes and mushrooms. Most of the vegetables were quite firm and crisp.
My friend also ordered Gnocchi with Bolognese ($12). It was a classic bolognese sauce with mince meat, tomatoes and garlic. The sauce was fresh, with a slight hint of garlic that accentuated the flavour of the pasta. She was satisfied with her dish and so was I.
Staff member in uniform at The Italian Bowl
Our overall experience at The Italian Bowl was a pleasant one. Although not the best place for enjoying the ambience, it was a convenient and affordable place to enjoy a quick meal. We got a lot of value for our money, and were also quite full at the end of our meal.
Where: 255 King Street Newtown NSW
Why: For the affordable pasta options and quick service.
Cost: $10-$16 for pasta
When: Open 7 days a week, Sunday to Thursday 11:30am-10pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30am-11pm.
Good for kids: Yes, children's menu available.
Take away: Yes