As a food lover, it feels appropriate to go on a heroic quest to find the best version of a favourite dish. In my case, the dish is the beloved carbonara. That stalwart of cream, egg and bacon is a fixture in any pasta restaurant, and even roadside delis offer their own versions. I’ve made it my mission to discover the best carbonara in Perth. Here, I explore the creamy depths of two Perth carbonara joints, and offer a recipe for my own.
For those who don’t know, Delisios is a pasta and pizza restaurant in ENEX100. I come here exclusively for the carbonara, and it’s the place that made me fall in love with the dish. A tip though: avoid during peak lunch hours, as seating gets very scarce in the complex at these times.
The plate comes out steaming, and the distinctive aroma of parmesan hits you as soon as you pick it up. The serving size is quite generous, with bacon liberally mixed in with the pasta and sauce. I haven’t been in the kitchen to observe, but there seems to be a lot of cheese going into this sauce, which is absolutely fine by me. It gives the sauce a strong flavour, as does the salt that comes with all that bacon.
Although it’s a lovely dish, it is a large serving, so those who struggle with big meals may not be able to finish (and not finishing food is almost a crime in my book). I would also advise not to get it takeaway, as in this context it becomes too obvious how much oil goes into making these kinds of pasta meals.
I think many a UWA student, myself included, were saddened to discover that the Gozleme stall had left Broadway. In its place was a fancy, tiled pasta and espresso joint. Despite being a bit pricey, the majority of the pasta at Tommy Sugo is great. Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for their carbonara.
I bought a large serving, with gnocchi pasta topped with parmesan cheese. The description of ‘creamy sauce’ was most definitely accurate. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that this meant ‘the sauce is cream and not much else’. While the parmesan gave it some sharpness, and the sauce definitely had at least some taste to it, the entire meal could be described as ‘subtle nearly to the point of unnoticeable’.
I was disappointed with the slivers of bacon I received, which felt like they were added as an afterthought. On the plus side, the addition of peas lets you feel a little less guilty about the mountain of kilojoules that comes with cream, as you’ve obviously thought ahead enough to add a token piece of salad to your meal. It’s serviceable, but it’s not worth multiple servings.
My Precious Carbonara Recipe
This recipe is supposed to serve four, but depending on how much or little you eat, it can last for a lot more or a lot less. Like any home cooking, ingredients and quantities are to taste.
- Pot for pasta
Knife/chopping board for preparations
- Mixing bowl
- LARGE frying pan
- Pasta scoop
- 400 g pasta (your own personal preference of type here)
- ½ cup of long life cream (or milk, which works fine as well)
- 4 eggs
- 75-90 g of cheese (any kind will work. Parmesan will be sharper, but whatever you have on hand is fine)
- 200 g of bacon, diced into around 1 cm squares (this should be rasher bacon. My experiments with pre-diced ‘bacon bits’ didn’t go well. Pancetta works quite nicely too)
- 200 g of chicken breast, diced into around 1cm cubes
- 3 cloves of garlic (or 3 teaspoons of minced garlic. I love me some garlic)
- Cooking oil (if you want to be thrifty, bacon fat can be used to oil up the pan instead)
1) Boil your pasta, and set aside.
2) Whisk the eggs and cream/milk in a bowl.
3) Add the cheese to your eggs and cream, mixing together.
4) Add oil to a large, hot pan, with the bacon, chicken and garlic, stirring until the chicken is cooked (covering the pan will assist with a little steaming, and will also introduce a tiny bit of lovely bacon-flavoured liquid for your sauce).
5) Turn down the heat, and add your cheese, egg and cream mixture. Mix continuously, so the cheese melts but your eggs don’t cook solid.
6) Add your pasta to the sauce, mixing with a pasta scoop until it is heated through.
7) Turn off the heat, and serve immediately with a salad. Note: The salad isn’t necessary, but it helps with the guilt.
Words by Daniel Hu