Its on Mar Takla square, in the heart of Hazmieh and it’s called Pasta di Ferro. An Italian restaurant occupying the ground floor of a residential building and which is accessed by a foot-bridge. I’ve been waiting to give it a try for some time now and I finally found it.
It was dinner with my wife at Pasta di Ferro.
Pasta di Ferro is the baby of a Captain Di Ferro, a retired Middle East Airlines pilot, now ready to relax in his little restaurant welcoming guests and friends coming for an Italian experience.
Welcome to Pasta di Ferro, the Italian cantina of Hazmieh, a small restaurant for the locals known in French as a “Bistro du Coin”. Pass the bridge and open up the door to a cocktail of fresh aromas coming from the open kitchen facing the entrance. A tight entrance leads you to the dining room, a rectangular shaped space that looks more like a club. A long mirror takes over the right wall and white leather high sofas face the tables, the facing wall is painted in red and centered with an LCD television.
You are welcomed by a gentle and smiley man with one aim in mind and that is to make you enjoy your meal and leave happy.
- The place has a low and white ceiling creating a warm but dull ambiance.
- Grey tables fill in the space.
- Large tiles cover the floor.
- An open kitchen next to the entrance adds the needed entertainment and mouthwatering sounds to the restaurant.
- A series of glass windows give a view of the Mar Takla roundabout.
The table setup:
- Red paper placemats with a plate and cutlery.
- De Cecco olive oil is used, a good choice from Italy, but why pay more and promote others when our country is loaded with premium
- extra virgin olive oil that we export to the whole world?
- Casa Rinaldi balsamic vinegar bottles
- Grissini Torinesi: An imported premium quality, indeed.
- Black olive bread: Tender, fluffy bread with black olives, best enjoyed with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Mini sausages are served as we arrived
The first impression is great. I loved the oil, loved the bread and adored the mini sausages. A warm welcome and generous approach prepare you for the food to come. Waiters wearing white shirts and aprons take the orders while chefs, back in the kitchen, cover their heads with red hats.
- Insalate e Antipasti
- Le Bevande
- Pasta: Gigli di Ferro, Gigli pasta served al dente. A fresh-looking plate that’s creamy and well cooked, mixed with mini shrimp, each opened down the middle. Those shrimp fade into the plate looking like the pasta. Well cooked, but the plate needed some oomph, a boost of taste, maybe more saffron. I would add more pepper, a bit of salt and wait for it to cool up a bit to be better enjoyed. Served extremely hot, I couldn’t feel the flavors until it rested a bit. Despite all, I like this one.
- Pizza: Bresaola, tomato sauce, roquette leaves and Parmesan. A round pizza, that looks homemade, with an uneven border, thin but firm dough that’s not soggy. But it’s hard and not crunchy enough or chewy on the sides like a real Italian pizza should be. The filling is generous and tasty, the tomatoes are fresh and good, the cheese is fulfilling and the arugula is fresh. I believe the flour, or the oven, is not of the best quality. A real catchy Italian pizza should be thin in the middle, fluffy on the sides with a crunchy border.
- Scallopini: Four slices of white veal escalope bathing in their lemon sauce and served next to a mountain of mashed potatoes. A good quality of meat, tender and flavorful, but I’d work more on the side order; the potato puree is nothing to write home about. It definitely needs more olive oil and butter. An acceptable place. In French I'd say "Pas Mal".
- Tiramisu: We were recommended to try this tiramisu, which is prepared without eggs but unfortunately needed more sweetness, more flavor, more biscuits… more life.
I believe the spirit is here, but the plates need more passion and more love. A pinch of salt, a hint of flavor, a sprinkle of enjoyment, anything that would make customers want to come back craving those unique flavors of Italy.
- The captain is a man you have to meet, smiley and happy to welcome you into his home.
- The manager, previously a chief of cabin, is an exceptional host.
- The tables are missing a decent pepper mill.
- A table napkin is a must.
- The food is average.
- The food needs some oomph, more passion more hints of flavor and surely more finesse.
- The waiters should smile more.
I’m sure lots of things can be improved, turning this local trattoria into a talked-about restaurant.