It’s a phrase you never want to hear when entering an Italian restaurant…there’s been a problem with the pasta.
Yet this state of pasta panic was the predicament we found ourselves in when we dined at Automatic in south Perth over the weekend.
The friendly server immediately drew our attention to the missing menu items that day: only two pasta options had survived.
If you’re like me, you read a menu before dining there and my choice of the group was now off the table.
Luckily, Automatic has the kind of crowd-pleasing A3-size placemat menu with a huge selection of dishes to share, pizza options, entrees and desserts, so missing items could be overlooked.
We opted for a San Daniele pizza ($28.50) topped with a tomato base, mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, arugula and parmigiano reggiano.
The thin Roman-style base was nice and light, and the ratio of trim to base was perfect; there’s nothing worse than fighting over a few pieces of prosciutto for your slice of pizza.
A slightly off ratio was the size of the table versus the plate. As the table for two was quite small, it became a bit of a headache to fit the three plates, drinks and water, but armed with silver pizza stands, the servers were very accommodating.
Since you never go over a caprese ($18.50) on a menu, this version made us forget that there were always other dishes we wanted to order.
Unlike others I’ve devoured before, Automatic used cherry tomatoes that had been blistered, making them even sweeter and juicier. With lots of balsamic, basil and a nice scoop of burrata it was a delight to eat. The only slight issue was that the burrata was a bit tougher inside and less oozing than most.
The rigatoni with beef and pork bolognese, tomato sugo, parmigiana reggiano and parsley ($27.50), the pasta that lived, was really everything you could want in a bolognese. Lots of well-seasoned sauce and cheese to swallow on a winter’s day.
Automatic is spacious and welcoming. As it was starting to fill up when we dined there, it’s the kind of place that would have a big buzz in the evening as the volume increased as diners filled up with pizza, wine and hopefully -le, of a full range of pasta.
Address: Shop 4, 5 and 6/35 Mends Street, South Perth
The verdict: Big menu, big restaurant and go there with a big appetite. The service is friendly and there are plenty of dishes to take you to Italy for a moment.