This celebration of carbs is a labour of love from chef Mitch Orr. He first learnt to make pasta from Sardinian chef Giovanni Pilu, during his time at Pilu at Freshwater. He mucked around with an occasional pasta dish when he was at Duke and now Orr is doing a monthly night where you can book in and try eight courses of pasta for $80, or $100 with matched wines at Buzo.
“It all started with Giorgio di Maria from 121BC hearing about my pasta and wanting to come and eat it,” says Orr. “He and Joel Amos (DJ, wine maker, sommelier, bon viveur) came in and I fed them six courses of pasta and a risotto. They both lost their minds – they’ve been back three times”.
The pasta is all based on seasonal produce. Orr makes the portions based on how many people book for the deg – that means no changes or variations to the menu. You might try a single raviolo filled with goat’s cheese and topped with a loose walnut sauce and broccolini tips. Or maybe there’ll be a saffron-tinged farfalle (you might recognise these guys as bowtie pasta) tossed through with hunks of spanner crab and sorrel.
Orr likes to mix it up, serving dishes like thin spaghetti with tiny meatballs of wild shot hare, all captured in a briny, caper-heavy tomato sauce. But then maybe he’ll push the boat with a clutch of gnocchetti sardi (they look like the pasta version of little bees having a nap) heavily doused in squid ink and then shavings of cured egg yolk. It’s challenging to say the least. It’s the fine, silky strands of linguine with slices of smoked eel (bacon of the sea!) and slivers of house-cured lardo that gets our vote for the night.
There are few places that would let a young chef just cane it with a whole menu of pasta, but this is Buzo. Never let it be said these guys don’t know how to party, and how to snack.
Book in quick, and wear loose pants.