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New ‘slow food’ pasta café brings a taste of Italy to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:21 24 January 2018

Erica Simpson, has opened new cafe in Wymondham, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Jacob Massey

Erica Simpson, has opened new cafe in Wymondham, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Jacob Massey

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With fast food chains strewn across the globe and growing year on year, a new pasta café in Norfolk is looking to take things down a gear.

Erica Simpson, owner and chef at new Wymondham cafe, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Suzanne NuriErica Simpson, owner and chef at new Wymondham cafe, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Suzanne Nuri

An appetite for so-called ‘slow food’ is on the rise in Italy and Pasta Gusto in Wymondham is hoping its freshly-made meals will be worth the wait.

Owner and chef, Erica Simpson, opened the café in Middleton Street last month after two years of serving her Italian food at markets and festivals.

Mrs Simpson said she was delighted with her reception in the town.

She said: “It’s been amazing. I didn’t even have a launch or do any advertising - we don’t even really have a sign. But word seems to have travelled.

Erica Simpson, owner and chef at new Wymondham cafe, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Suzanne NuriErica Simpson, owner and chef at new Wymondham cafe, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Suzanne Nuri

“The concept of slow food is very appealing because I can welcome people to my café and cook their meal in front of them while we chat. It’s not the type of place where you would feel pressured to eat and go. Your meal may take longer to cook and prepare, but it will taste so much better because of how fresh it is, rather than if it came ready prepared and just needed heating up.”

The intimate venue seats 12 and the open kitchen means customers can watch the fresh pasta being prepared.

Mrs Simpson said she lamented the perception of pasta as a quick and unexciting meal.

She said: “It breaks my heart when I hear people say ‘oh I’m just going to have some pasta.’

New cafe in Wymondham, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Jacob MasseyNew cafe in Wymondham, Pasta Gusto. Picture: Jacob Massey

“Pasta is the most beautiful food, but fresh pasta is completely different to package bought pasta. It’s so much lighter and it holds the sauce so much better. It is a delight to eat.”

The café is open for takeaways and eat ins from Tuesday to Saturday and is open two evenings a week.

Mrs Simpson regularly experiments with recipes and posts menus on the Pasta Gusto Facebook page.

As well as pasta dishes, the café also serves freshly baked focaccia and biscotti, among other Italian favourites.

The restaurant can be booked out for evening service, with diners bringing their own booze and Mrs Simpson closing the doors to the public as she prepares a range of set menus at £25 per head.

Pasta Gusto is also running demonstration nights, with students invited to enjoy the fruits of their labour at the end of the session.

To book, call 07828241200.

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