A Jack Nicholson film (I forget the name) has a marvellous scene in which he and the female lead (I forget who it was) are in a roadside cafeteria and he’s ordering a sandwich. He wants a simple one but the waitress says they didn’t do that, but he could have something similar and tells him what it is. But he’s not interested in that and suggests something else.
However, she can’t do his new suggestion and comes up with another that is available. This goes on for a bit until he eventually tells her to take certain elements of the first sandwich and add them to certain items on the second one and then something from the third one…and eventually he has a sandwich that he orders.
Something like that happened at today’s restaurant but it was about fresh pasta. From the street, this place looks like a small fresh pasta shop that has five tables where customers can eat. It seemed like a very simple set-up but there were difficulties ahead.
It turned out that all the pastas are dishes of the day whose prices include a drink and a dessert. That deal could suit lots of people but I’m not one of them — I never have dessert and I certainly don’t want one forced on me in this way.
The place is run by a couple from the Parma area of northern Italy, he doing the cooking and she looking after the five tables. As this is a fresh pasta place (but not a shop as I had first thought because the uncooked fresh pasta on display isn’t for sale) I wanted to try their flat tagliatelle and another that was thinner than spaghetti — and with any kind of sauce but no dessert.
They couldn’t do that because they served 200 grs of pasta per portion and the price was calculated to include a drink and dessert. Couldn’t I have the thin spaghetti with a plain tomato sauce? By this time the husband had joined in and he said a tomato sauce would swamp the thin pasta and it would become a big blob.
She offered a bolognese sauce with packet spaghetti but I wanted to try their fresh pasta although my preference is for pasta asciutta, the dry kind in packets.
I eventually had the bolognese with fresh tagliatelle and the thin pasta with butter. The bolognese was minced meat cooked for six hours that was, not unsurprisngly, somewhat dry and tasteless. The thin pasta was fine but it lacked butter.
Jack Nicholson ended up with a sandwich he wanted but I didn’t get the pastas I was hoping for.
Pasta is one of the simplest and greatest of culinary inventions and ordering it in a restaurant should never be the hassle we had. Some pastas are better with certain sauces but any pasta can be eaten with any sauce that takes our fancy. There are no hard and strict rules such this couple want to impose on us. On the menu a small box boasts about how the bolognese sauce is very special and is cooked for six hours. But all that was left was tasteless minced meat and no lubricating sauce. This was the driest bolognese sauce I’ve ever had. Pastas need good lubrication. These two didn’t get it.
Rosamunda, Calle Archiduque Luis Salvador 35, Palma. Tel:871-809089. Closed on Sundays. This is a postage stamp size of a place and they have only five small tables, so it’s best to book at all times.
The tagliatelle with bolognese sauce and the thin pasta with butter and a sprinkling of grated cheese each cost €9.50, which was less than the dish of the day prices that include a beer and a dessert. But even so we got one dessert and one caña per dish and two extra cañas were charged at €1.50 each. The bill came to €22 including VAT. For dessert we chose pieces of chocolate spongecake that were rather dry.