I wasn’t sure whether to include tonight’s dinner in my blog. Sauced straddles the line between fast food outlet and restaurant like a penguin riding a donkey. You order at the counter like a fast food joint and you have an eat-in or takeaway option, but since it’s cooked to order, it’ll take around 15 to 20 minutes to arrive.
Sauced is nestled between the Mexican Fonda and the Spanish San Churro like an international ménage a trois. The décor inside is industrial minimalist. White painted brick walls adorned with a large stencil of a pasta maker, concrete floors, and a marble-topped bench which has an interesting end feature designed to make it look like the end of a stack of 4x2s at a timber yard. The bench is lit with the now ubiquitous Edison style antique light bulbs, behind which is the open kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work.
The menu is a bit of a paint by numbers affair. You pick your meal size, your pasta type, and then the sauce from either the traditional or the gourmet range. I chose the regular sized shell pasta with Polo e Fungi sauce from the gourmet range. I also got some of the Sauced signature Parmesan chips.
When my name was called I went and collected my meal which is presented on a wooden serving board. The pasta and chips were served in biodegradable dishes made of recycled paper, with metal cutlery and a slice of bread wrapped in brown paper stamped with the Sauced logo. Both the chips and the pasta had a generous helping of Parmesan cheese applied.
Since I was by myself, I sat at the bar style table in the window that opened onto Chapel St so I could watch the world go by as I ate. The pasta was piping hot and was a very generous helping. The chips were a deep golden brown, crispy out the outside and fluffy in the middle, just how they should be. The pasta appeared to have plenty of mushrooms in it, but was a bit lacking in the chook department. The main issue however was the sauce. It was a bit insipid. Not viscous enough and not particularly flavourful. I ended up not finishing my meal which is a definite rarity for me. The helpings were big, but I also got bored with the flavour before I got the bottom of the bowl.
On a previous occasion here I’d had “The 4 P’s” sauce which consists of pumpkin puree, pine nuts, Persian feta and basil pesto and it was delicious and highly recommended. I think the concept of fresh cooked-to-order product is generally going to be a winner, but the Polo e Fungi sauce was a miss on this occasion.
For me the highlight was probably watching three middle-aged women with comically sized fake tits and some of the biggest lips ever seen on a human head try to squeeze around one of the small outdoor tables with their guinea pig sized dog. I’d have preferred the highlight was the sauce.