The battle over who invented pasta – the Italians or the Chinese – has long plagued food historians, and the jury is still out on whether or not the noodle is the ancestor of Italian pasta.
Fast forward a few centuries to a plant-festooned indoor-outdoor terrace on Crown Street in Surry Hills, where husband and wife team Nyu and Minh Nguyen own Asian pasta joint Bar Pesta.
On the menu is miso carbonara (spaghetti, plump pieces of chicken, a soft egg, cream, caramelised onion and nori) and aglio e olio (spaghetti, garlic, olive oil and Lao sausage). The Mushroom Wafu is an umami party of Asian mushrooms, nori and a dashi butter sauce served with linguine, while the XO penne is a jumble of sliced squid, mussels, prawns and house-made chilli XO.
But the standout dish is the Tiger Prawn Tom Yum, where linguine is served in a pool of galangal lime sauce with Asian mushrooms and tomato. The barbeque duck salad is refreshing and has a good amount of heat through the mix of cabbage, herbs and lime dressing. Snacks and sides include crunchy Vietnamese pickles, pork crackling with sriracha mayo and arancini balls. The cocktail list is classic and the pours voluminous.