Address: Spiridonievsky per., 12/9
Tel: +7 (495) 730-5600
Open from 12:00 until 24:00.
All major credit cards accepted.
By Polly Dented
When we walked into Pasta della Mamma (R.I.P. Borgo) the first thing that struck me was that they hadn't changed the interior at all. It was exactly the same. This may not be a bad thing, but I thought it was a little odd. The interior is nice enough, and the atmosphere is calm and relaxed - no snootiness. But aside from that, there really isn't anything to add to (or subtract from) what was said about Borgo.
The menu was brief with a nice selection of very appetizing items. One difference here was that Pasta della Mamma's prices are lower than Borgo's prices were, but not always by very much. Rumor has it that the owners are now targeting a more middle-class clientele.
We both ordered fizzy water (90/210Rbs) and I also got a mojito (180Rbs). Although it was served in a giant glass, the mojito was a bit of a disappointment - fairly weak with too much lemon. There is also a wine list, Aleydis pointed out Marques de Cazares (crianza 2001 - 1050Rbs/bottle) as a recommendation should I decide to get my wine on. We both liked Pasta della Mamma's oval-shaped water glasses, which fit niftily into the hand.
For starters, I ordered the shrimp with garlic butter sauce (320Rbs) and beef carpaccio with parmegiano regiano (330) and Aleydis decided to try the grilled Portobello mushroom (420Rbs). Other selections were green salad with fried goat cheese (330Rbs), and bruscetta with asparagus and lemon (270Rbs). Although we didn't try them, some of the soup selections looked very tempting, such as cream of lobster soup with shrimp (330Rbs) and artichoke soup with truffled crostini (270Rbs).
Aleydis was more than happy with her grilled portobello. I have to agree - she let me have a taste and it really was very good. I was equally as happy with the beef carpaccio, which was mild, served with ruccolla and a nice amount of parmesan, and not too much oil or balsamic. However when the shrimp came, I asked Aleydis to try them as well, and we both agreed that better shrimp has been had. The sauce was nice enough (and there was a lot of sauce - they served the shrimp with a spoon for the sauce) but the shrimp were clearly not as fresh as they could have been, and thus they were a bit chewy and stringy.
When it comes to entrees, Pasta della Mamma offers a lot of the old pasta standards. Aleydis ordered the raviolis with ricotta and spinach (450Rbs), and I opted for the spaghetti carbonara (360Rbs). We had heard from other Expat.ru posters that the portions were supposed to be big. Pasta della Mamma's menu even has a special blurb announcing that carry-out is indeed an option, and that "doggy-bags" are no problemo.
Overall the service was very good. One poster on Expat.ru had noted that most of the waitresses were closer to middle-aged as opposed to young nubile thangs. We found this to be true for the most part, and decided they were probably really going for that "Mamma" feel.
Both of our entrees were underwhelming in their own ways. Aleydis explained that her ravioli (five very large ravioli) were too plain, and that the white sauce they were served in was also bland. She said they really could use something to spice them up, especially the spinach, which she would have liked to be tangier. My pasta carbonara was generally alright - not the best I've had in Moscow, but certainly not the worst by far. My main problem was that the pasta was a little too al dente - almost to the point where I thought it might have been a good idea for the cook to boil it for at least a couple more minutes. The sauce was nice enough, there was lots of parmesan (which I liked) and very, very thinly stripped bacon. Personally, I would have liked to see more bacon meat and less translucent bacon fat, but that's just me. Overall, it was pretty heavy, and yes, the portion was big. I could only eat about a third of it, if that.
Neither Aleydis nor I could finish our entrees, and there was certainly no room left for even thinking about dessert. As Pasta della Mamma is slightly more affordable, I would probably consider going back, but probably for the appetizers and not full entrees.