We’ve gone off the ‘beaten track’ and ventured out into the burbs for some Italian fare with raving reviews on Zomato… a place that has been on the list for way too long and it was about time it got ticked off! The hidden gem which goes by the name of Il Toro Pasta & Espresso Bar is located in Hampstead Gardens on North East Road, on the way to TTP shopping centre.
The father and daughter team, Jim and Caitlin Talladira run the casual homely pasta bar where all their pasta, gnocchi, sauces, biscuits and cakes are hand made daily. Don’t expect the fancy fan fare one would get when dining in an Italian eatery in the CBD, it’s simple and pared down, just like the food served here.
Complimentary bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Starters of arancini. Crispy crumbed exterior, breaking apart to a cheesy gooey centre with rice and earthy porcini mushroom tones with a flavourful rose sauce and punch shavings of grana padana.
Fettuccine granchio: crab pasta; $17.90
No crab pasta goes unlooked when spotted on a menu! Il Toro’s version consists of freshly made fettuccine pasta, blue swimmer crab meat, baby spinach, Spanish onion all tossed in a rose sauce. A solid dish, however a bit too soft and soggy for our liking as it resulted to each mouthful being texturally… mushy.
Verdura 12″ pizza; $15.90
A pizza to round off the Italian fanfare, we opted for the vegetarian topping with tomato sugo, mozzarella, roasted capsicum, mushrooms, artichokes, fresh basil and Kalamata olives. Medium base with plentiful of veggies ladened on top. Nothing amazing to rave on about, but decent and more than enough to fill ones hungry stomach.
The food served at Il Toro is homely, simple and evidently fresh. Prices are reasonable, but we’ve been spoilt for choice over the years with some excellent Italian places dotted around our city that Il Toro just didn’t hit a home run for us–as much as we wanted it to based on recommendations and reviews. Maybe we went in with our expectations set way too high? (which is always bound to be a let down!)
Oh well, we came, we ate, and we ticked it off the list. Onto the next place!
Il Toro Pasta & Espresso Bar
1/321 North East Road
Hampstead Gardens SA 5086
P 08 7225 7123