Open 7 days
9am - late
My love affair with pasta ended almost two years ago, when I decided to 'try' & eliminate carbs from my diet. For the most part I have succeeded, pasta & rice have really not featured in my diet at all & potatoes, bread & sugar are very much reduced.
What were once daily delights are now, at most, weekly highlights.
So, when after all this time my thoughts do turn to pasta, I immediately start thinking about the pasta of my mother country, the wonderful ricotta & parsley filled Maltese Ravjul.
The Pastizzi Cafe is thankfully very close to home, so it is quite easy for me to satisfy this craving. I need to get it out of my system.
It is a Sunday night & we foolishly think it will be easy enough to get a table, how wrong we are, the place is buzzing. These diamond shaped pastries certainly seem to be popular with the local population.
A ten minute wait and we finally score a table. The cafe is very small, and being packed to the rafters with those dining in & those ordering takeaway, it is consequently incredibly noisy.
We decide to start with a couple of pastizzi each. In Malta I believe there are only two types of pastizzi; pastizzi ta' l-irkotta (ricotta) and pastizzi tal-pizelli (pea).
The Pastizzi Cafe however, offers a much, much larger selection which also includes; chicken & mushroom, chilli con carne, salmon dill & ricotta and many more. There are also some sweet variations such as chocolate & ricotta, cherry & ricotta & apple.
Buggles decides on Chicken & Mushroom & Salmon, Dill & Ricotta, while being a traditionalist, I go for the plain Ricotta (they have always been my favourite), I also decide to try the Ricotta & Feta. The pastizzi are wonderfully flaky & plump full of filling. Buggles enjoys both of hers but the Chicken & Mushroom is the standout.
I should have just stuck to my favourite, the plain ricotta as the feta variety is just way too salty.
Our mains arrive not too long after, we have both decided on the Ravjul; Buggles the pumpkin & ricotta and I the ricotta & parsley.
You can choose from a variety of sauces to top your ravjul, but we go with the traditional Maltese zalza of tomato & garlic....this is about the ravjul after all, the sauce should complement the ravjul, not overpower.
The pasta is hot & steaming, the perfectly cooked pillows are stuffed full of ricotta (and in Buggles' case...not much pumpkin), the accompanying sauce is light & delicious with just a hint of garlic.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as eating the food you grew up with.
Even after a huge plate of ravjul, I am still ready to take on some dessert & decide the tiramisu will fill that nagging empty spot. Buggles obviously feeling a little fuller, decides on just 1 Kannoli (or should that be kannol?).
The tiramisu is lush & creamy, if a little dry, I think it needs more of a boozy hit. Still very good though.
The Kannol has a very light yet crunchy shell, while the dark chocolatey ricotta filling is sweet & wonderfully creamy. Buggles enjoys this very much.
Despite the red & white & the Maltese Cross, the Pastizzi Cafe is essentially an Italian restaurant that offers a few Maltese dishes.
Maltese cuisine remains one of the most underrepresented in this country and the Pastizzi Cafe does not do much to redress the balance. It would be great to see dishes such as Ross il-Forn, Mqarrun il-Forn and Braġjoli on the menu.
With that said, if Pastizzi & Ravjul aren't your thing (impossibbli!), then the Cafe offers many other pasta choices (think Marinara, Carbonara, Bolognese and the like), as well as quite a few Veal & Chicken dishes.
Service is quick (but not rushed), friendly & efficient.
The Pastizzi Cafe is always busy and as such booking ahead is well advised.