The Pasta Factory with Tom Pastula and Iwona Werenczuk
Fresh Pasta Made Daily … Six days a week!
What to do when you crave pasta, and not the elaborate (and expensive) kind often found on restaurant menus? Unless you’re a good cook yourself, you need to find a place like The Pasta Factory in the heart of Galway city.
I am not going to lie to you. At a glance, when driving by this little gem of a place (near Sally Longs bar in Newtownsmyth) it is easy to see why The Pasta Factory has become one of Galway’s most favourite eateries. Boldly painted in bright white and yellow colours, wth a chef making fresh pasta in-your-face in the front window, all you’re going to want to do is stop the car, and go eat.
Brainchild of Chef owner Tom Pastula (great name too!) The Pasta Factory has only been open a few months (Febraury 2016) and both Tom and his partner (Iwona) could not be happier with the reception Galway has given them.
“I worked for Jamie Oliver for three years in the UK. I love pasta, and knew if I ever opened my own place, it would be a pasta place.”
Although barely room to swing a cat, in their tiny dining room which seats around sixteen guests, Tom makes the pasta fresh every day, right in the front window of the restaurant. He also hangs it there to dry. Brightly decorated with fun furnishings and colour scheme, I almost felt it was a bit gimmicky (like being in a staged room at Ikea) the first time we popped in for a visit;The food quickly hushed those thoughts.
With several different types of pasta to choose from, there is no way you could leave not getting what you want (unless you are looking for chips, which in that case, just pop next door to Flo’s Falafel's). A clearly written chalk board houses the menu, which changes weekly, and everything from a beautiful beef Bolognese, to a spicy Brugnolo Italian Sausage with truffle oil and chill flakes, awaits. There is also a fish Pasta dish and one of my favourites, the fresh Clams in butter, garlic and white wine. Vegetarians can have their pick of the lot as most of the sauces are veggie friendly and packed with so much flavour. If the Truffle oil pasta is on the menu when you visit - order it!
The Pasta Factory has built up a die-hard following over the past few months. One of the clever hooks Tom used to get his restaurant centre off the ground, was to develop a very simple pricing structure. All small plates cost €6.50 per plate, and the larger portions go for €9.50 a plate. The menu changes weekly, so getting bored is out of the question.
As this place is quite tiny, we have only ever witnessed two staff members running the show at any one time. Tom in the kitchen and his partner Iwona handling the front of the house. Friends since their school days, the couple reconnected when both working in the UK and Iwona followed her heart (Tom) to Ireland. They are both very pleasant and service is always fast. And, as if this cute couple were not busy enough, they are adding to their brood as (their first) baby makes three in January.
Another clever notion Tom took when he opened The Pasta Factory, is to offer carry-out. So now, in addition to their cult following, they have built a reputation for having excellent take-away food. This is something that is never easy to achieve with pasta dishes as they can end up gummy by the time you get it home. Not the case with The Pasta Factory! With cardboard food tubs, perfect size for walking around the streets of Galway enjoying your snack, the carry out business is steadfastly growing. Long may it last.
Right now, Galway has a lot going on. The bid for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture has been submitted, Food on the Edge symposium returns in the Autumn for a second year, and just recently, Galway has received the EU seal of approval and is designated Galway City of Gastronomy 2018.
Little bite-sized places like the Pasta Factory are perfect for our small city-by-the sea. They have priced their food offerings accordingly, the pasta dishes are full of deliciousness, and the pasta itself is even better: nice and firm, with a rustic feel to it, holding the sauces incredibly well.
If Galway is on your list this summer for a visit, then you need to make sure you stop in to The Pasta Factory for a bite to eat. You will love it!