PASTA Taking Lombok by Storm
Chef Gianluca’s PASTA POJOK in Senggigi is full every night with diners enjoying his traditional home-cooked pasta recipes.
THE LOMBOK dining scene may be a far cry from the beach club and restaurant scene in neighboring Bali but it is slowly getting there. One such venue which is growing in popularity is Pasta Pojok on Jalan Raya Senggigi. Lombok transplant Gianluca Visciglia and his wife run the small pasta joint. It was packed the night we visited – all tables were full except for the one which was reserved for us.
Understated interiors, wooden accents, and a laughter of a jolly chef make for a good backdrop for a charming restaurant. But of course, the proof was in the tasting. After my first bite of the vegetarian pizza, I was in love. Successive bowls of freshly cooked pastas and gnocchi fortified my belly and my love.
“In Indonesia, majority of time, if you want to eat authentic and good Italian food you have to go to 5-star hotels or expensive restaurants that, unfortunately, not everyone can afford, so I came up with the Pasta Pojok concept because I always wanted to give the opportunity to more people to try authentic Italian food like what I always eat at home when a was child, the really homemade grandmother’s cooking,” declared the ever-smiling Gianluca.
“One more thing that made me come up with this concept is because during these days when everyone is looking to complicate food, create new things with many ingredients from around the world, I want to do the opposite. For me, we are slowly losing the basics and where the real food comes from and thus gradually losing our traditions as well. While I agree with new restaurants working on sustainability practices as I’m also currently doing, I would also like to keep alive my identity, my culture and where I come from to let the people taste a piece of Italy in Indonesia at Pasta Pojok.”
Another thing which makes Pasta Pojok reasonably priced is that they use lots of local ingredients. “We give the name Pasta Pojok, pojok means corner in Bahasa Indonesia, because we use 70% local products, except for the products which absolutely need to come from Italy like olive oil, parmesan cheese, peeled tomato and a few more, so we like to let the people understand this is real Italian food but made in Indonesia from a secret Italian grandmother’s recipe and this is written on our logo. Because of this, we give 50% Italian and 50% Indonesian name.”
At Pasta Pojok, all the pastas are made daily, from scratch. “We don’t use any dry pastas like spaghetti or penne from any brand, all of our pasta is handmade and from scratch every day.” And the recipes can’t get more authentic. “The pasta recipe comes from my mother who is now grandmother to my children. I always helped her during our summer holidays, we made many kinds of pasta, like tagliatelle, ravioli ricotta with spinach, potato gnocchi and many more. Another recipe and actually also our best selling dessert is the tiramisu. I still keep my mother’s recipe, hand-written on a piece of paper for me many years ago and I have never changed anything on it and for sure I will pass the same recipe to my daughter and son,” Gianluca excitedly shares.
Must try dishes on the menu include Gianluca’s favorites: Mushroom Agnolottiwith Parmesan sauce, Pizza Vegetariana, Pappardelle with Duck Ragout, Gnocchi with Pesto Basil Sauce and the Gelato Pistachio.
Jalan Raya Senggigi Km 08, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat