The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham is suddenly becoming the place to be, with a few fantastic new bars and restaurants all popping up within a short space of time. One restaurant that is certainly not new however (in fact, it’s as old as I am!), is Pasta Di Piazza, a delightful little Italian just off St. Paul’s Square. Though it may have been around a while, this restaurant is not getting left behind, as their brand new £400,000 rennovation of upstairs proves they are now bigger and better than ever. I was invited down for a celebratory meal to try the food and check out the new rennovation, so read on to find out why you should have this place on your list!
I’d never visited Pasta Di Piazza before, but I am a big fan of their sister restaurant Cucina Rustica, another Italian in the same area. Upon arrival it was clear that Pasta Di Piazza is a much more casual, informal restaurant, but still with the same authentic feel as Cucina Rustica; the atmosphere was buzzing and seemed more suited to a fairly loud meal with friends or family rather than a romantic date (although, I certainly wouldn’t complain either – take note, Jack). The upstairs had been done out wonderfully. Brightly coloured glass and open brick work made the space feel stylish yet still traditional, and there is clearly plenty more seating now for this popular restuarant.
Once we had all arrived the wine began to flow and the guests got chatting about the space and the food that was to come. It was lovely to meet Sara, the owner’s daughter, who actually used to live in the area we were dining in. We were all able to choose our own meals from the menu, which was great as it meant that people with dietry requirements were perfectly happy!
For his starter Jack went for a roasted tomato stuffed with grilled vegetables, caramelised onion, pine nuts and mozzarella. This dish was really nicely presented, and all the components worked really well together. The tomato stuffing wasn’t too soggy or oily either, which is often the case, and the pine nuts added some interest to the texture. Jack said he would definitely order this starter again!
My starter was the crespelle – baked ricotta and spinach pancakes in a tomato sauce with parmesan and cream sauce. Similar to Jack’s dish, these flavours are never not going to work well together, and I thoroughly enjoyed my starter. It was great to see so much choice for vegetarians, and neither of our dishes felt like after-thoughts to the meat and seafood options that other diners were enjoying.
When it came to choosing a main it was genuinely really difficult – the menu is vast and, if you’re a lover of Italian cuisine like us, everything sounds amazing. In the end Jack went for the vegetable calzone pizza, which was a folded pizza base packed full with grilled vegetables, mozzarella, tomatoes and then topped with pesto sauce. This was a really delicious dish, and is certainly what I’ll be ordering for my main on our next visit. The side salad that came with it, however, lacked dressing and did seem slightly pointless, but the calzone was enough for this not to matter.
For my main I went for the salmon pasta dish, which included watercress, mascarpone and smoked salmon mixed with homemade pesto and pasta. I’d ordered this as I’d had an amazing salmon pasta course at Cucina Rustica before and hoped for a similar experience, and I wasn’t disappointed. There was plenty of salmon which tasted really fresh and flavoursome, and the pesto and mascarpone gave the dish a really rich, indulgent feel. For any salmon lovers, make sure you order this dish on your visit!
Overall, we had a brilliant time dining at Cucina Rustica. The staff were very hospitable and looked after everyone really well – it can be hard to reach the same standards when serving a table of 10+ but this didn’t faze Pasta Di Piazza, as everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy their meals! If you’re looking for somewhere to dine out in the Jewellery Quarter then I can really recommend Pasta Di Piazza, especially now that there is plenty of space upstairs for the busy weekends. Thank you to Sara and everyone at Pasta Di Piazza for having us, we can’t wait to return!