Pronto @ Claremont

Having bought clothes sizes too big online has found me hanging about in Claremont trying to exchange my items for the correct sizes. After roaming around Claremont Quarter I ended up exchanging my coat and shoes AND buying 2 more to tops on my way out (which was clearly not in the agenda for today). I also ended up with a massive craving for pasta. In fact, I have had this crazy craving for pasta for a few weeks now and you can’t imagine the satisfaction I felt when I stepped into Pronto, along Bay View Terrace just across Claremont Quarter. From the outside it looked like a restaurant of small capacity but it actually is quite big inside. Modern looking with framed photographs for sale by a man named Paul (based on my assumption only because it says to contact Paul if you want to buy the photographs), Pronto has an unusual mix of having a homey yet modern feel to it. It is like an upscale casual dining Italian restaurant.

Pronto: interior

The waitstaff, when I came here, was a group of middle aged Italian men. I was given a lunch menu consisting of entrees, salads, pastas and pizzas. The menu was not overly complicated consisting of dishes that you would find in most Italian restaurants. I ordered the Spaghetti alla Nolana that was supposed to have mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and chilli. Then the waiter asked if I wanted any drinks so I said “just a glass of hot water, please” because I had a cold. And he said, playfully, “with lemon”? Oh yes please! A thumbs up from me for paying attention. A glass of boiling hot lemon water was just what I needed.

Service was fast too. My pasta was served in less than 10 minute waiting time. But when the plate came it was spaghetti swimming in a sea of tomato sauce. It was obviously not what I had ordered and I fished around for my mushrooms just to check if I read the menu incorrectly or they actually stuffed up my order. No mushrooms nor sundried tomatoes were found but I am not the type of customer who would actually send food back to the kitchen unless it is really inedible. I am a believer of blessings in disguise so I happily ate my Spaghetti Napolitana – spaghetti with tomato sauce topped with parmesan cheese and a few leaves of basil.

Pronto: Spaghetti Napolitana

Getting an order wrong on a not-too-busy lunch is in any way a big turn off for me. But I’m happy to let this one go because it was indeed a blessing in disguise. The spaghetti was cooked al dente and the tomato sauce was very rich but not too acidic with just the right amount of cheese to give it that kick. There is only 1 other Italian restaurant (that I have been to so far) that cooks tomato-based sauces just the way I like them (as described above) but that restaurant, called Green Tomato, happens to be in the Philippines. On a side note, not even Ciao Italia, one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Perth, can whip up this kind of tomato-based sauce. Their’s is too acidic. Anyways, Perth-wise, Pronto is at par with Green Tomato, if not, even better because the tomatoes tasted fresher. It has been quite a while since I last had a Green Tomato pasta so upon taking that first taste of Pronto’s Spaghetti Napolitana I was taken back home, even for just a good 20 minutes that it took me to finish my plate of pasta. I was happy that there was plenty of sauce because I savoured every spoonful of it long after I chowed down the pasta.

The downside? Price and serving size. It costs $20 for such a small plate of pasta. Upon seeing that $20 on the menu I was expecting a big bowl/plate of pasta that would really fill me up until I have no more room for dessert. Sadly that wasn’t the case. I was left wanting for something more. I asked the waitstaff if they had tiramisu but he said that they did not make it today (but that they usually had it). In my opinion, tiramisus are a staple in Italian restaurants so they should be available all trading days. If it was sold out for the day I would understand but not making it is unacceptable. The other cakes in the fridge did not look appetising enough so I just asked for the bill. They wanted to charge me $25 for what was originally the Spaghetti alla Nolana order but I told them they gave me the wrong dish. The waitstaff showed me what he wrote in the order ticket and it proved that the kitchen got it wrong. He did apologise profusely about the mistake and asked if I did enjoy my meal anyway and I said yes.

The pricing and the size definitely makes me hesitant to come back to Pronto because I can get just as good a pasta elsewhere for 3/4 of the price or the same price for a much bigger serving enough to share between 2 people. Well if I get that Green Tomato nostalgia again I know now where to go (and that would probably be the only reason why I would come back).

My rating: 6.75/10

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