Monday, 6 February 2017

Sunday night on Shudehill in the company of some interesting history and some equally fine food at the Pasta Factory

I will be going back to the Pasta Factory on Shudehill because it is all I could want from a restaurant.*

Inside the Pasta Factory, 2017
We found it almost by chance when looking for a place to buy fresh pasta and having come across the website it wasn’t long before we ended up there.

Now no one should be surprised at a blog story about the Pasta Factory.

Over the years I have written lots of stories about the changing fashions in food, and the places that served it up, from humble street stalls on Back Piccadilly to the first chop house on Market Street and more than a few about the Ciao chain of restaurants that could be found across Italy.**

All of which brings me to the Pasta Factory which we visited yesterday.  It was late in the afternoon and already the place was filling up.  In one corner there was a party of Italians along with two families, and a couple who were “very much together.”

Insisw, 2017
We choose a selection of starters including a selection of Italian cheeses, and some delightfully cooked vegetables followed by the pasta.

Now as a veggie I had plenty of choice and in the end went for pasta tossed in a Mediterranean tapenade made of sun dried tomatoes, capers and olives, Tina had a dish a venison ragu and Luca the pasta with olive oil tossed in breadcrumbs with garlic, parsley and paprika.

The food was simple but perfect, and the staff were friendly and helpful and the surroundings uncomplicated.

Totò date unknown
The bonus for me was the pictures of Italian film stars extolling the virtues of pasta and there beside Sophie Loren and Fellini was the comedian Totò.

Totò is a particular favorite of ours, partly because his films are so funny and also because like Tina’s parents he was born in Naples.

Sunday’s at theirs in Varese usually end up with one of his films, a fact I nearly told Paulo who operates their online link.

It was I must confess a bit of silliness after signing up to their facebook page to carry on a conversation with him much to the amusement of Alberto who had served us.

But this is indeed silly so I shall finish with a reference to the building which still proudly carries the word Bank picked out above the window.

It belonged to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank and opened here for business in 1873 continuing to cash cheques, offer loans and monetary advice till it closed in 1980.

After which it became home to a series of restaurants and I might just have visited it back in 1969 when it was still a bank and again around the time John Casey photographed it in the mid 80s.

For those who want more there is a detailed description of the bank on the Pasta Factory’s blog along with lots more information on the site about almost everything you ever wanted to know but never knew where to look.

Location, The Pasta Factory, Manchester

Pictures; inside the Pasta Factory, 2017, from the collection of Andrew Simpson and outside on Shudehill cicra 1980s courtesy of John Casey, and Totò, from Totò

*The Pasta Factory

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