Pop Up Restaurant

Having had the idea for a restaurant specialising in brilliant pasta dishes, we came up with a plan of starting off as a pop up restaurant. This would allow us to try out our menus and give us experience in organising and running a restaurant.

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We began by searching for a venue in our local area where we could run our pop up in an evening. We wanted an established cafe with space to prepare and serve our food. After looking at a few places we decided on the cafe at Heeley City Farm.

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The farm is a charitable organization that works on environmental, social and educational projects for the community.  It’s a place we know quite well as we often take our children there. We like the friendly animals, the playground and the gardens. The vegetarian cafe serves home cooked foods including delicious cakes and treats and is popular with families. The staff have been very supportive of our idea from the outset and we’d like to say a big thanks to them especially to Alison, Sam and Gloria.

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One thing we particularly like about the farm is that they grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables both onsite and in other locations around Sheffield. Using their produce for our menus whenever possible fits perfectly with our philosophy of using local and seasonal ingredients.

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We had our first ever pop up restaurant there on the 24th of October and we’re delighted to say that it went really well. We’re hoping to do this one Saturday every month and we’ll give you more details on our next post.

Butta la pasta!

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I’ve been passionate about Italian food and cooking for many years now. It’s hard to say exactly why but I love the marriage of great seasonal ingredients and uncomplicated cooking. It really feels like the sort of food and cooking we should all be enjoying at this day and age.

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I love reading books about the regionality and variety of cooking in Italy. One evening after reading ‘La Cucina’, a brilliant collection of recipes from all over Italy, I had the idea of having a restaurant specializing in pasta main courses.

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All too often we see the same generic pasta dishes in Italian restaurant menus – Spaghetti Bolognese, creamy carbonara, an assorted seafood pasta. None of these represents the authentic local food cooked in Italian kitchens. When was the last time you went to an Italian restaurant and ordered a pasta dish that truly caught your imagination, excited your taste buds and made you want to tell your friends about it? Most people I’ve asked can’t remember which I think is odd for something that many say they and their families love.

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My plan was therefore to create a menu that changed throughout the year with honest dishes originating from various regions of Italy using the best ingredients available.

IMG_6209.2015-07-20_152602 We’ll have great starters of soups, salads, vegetable dishes, cheeses and cured meats not commonly seen in many other menus. And the meal will always be finished with classic desserts such as lemon tart, homemade ice creams and chocolate torte. I’d like a simple, approachable wine list and of course, we’ll have brilliant coffee.

IMG_2403.2014-06-30_145049At this point, I should mention our choice of name for the restaurant which is Butta la Pasta! Translated it means “throw in the pasta!” and is used at home as we say “turn on the kettle” for a cup of tea. I like its simplicity and informality. It is a welcoming invitation to join us and enjoy a great meal.