Tradition becomes modern: 1154 Pastaria
Named in Cuisine’s top 100 New Zealand restaurants for 2019, fresh pasta pioneers 1154 deliciously merge the modern and the traditional.
While the above options reflect modern dining trends, the food itself is unapologetically traditional. (The name itself is a nod to history; the first known written reference to pasta is from the year 1154.) Chef Lucas sticks to a small selection of Italian classics done well. The pappardelle alla Bolognese is made just the way they do it in Bologna, with a richer, less tomato-heavy sauce than we might be used to. The popular fettuccine carbonara is also true to its roots, with one small Kiwi twist: the not-quite-orthodox inclusion of cream.
The wine list changes regularly but always features organic, biodynamic natural wines, and you can get a glass of house white or red for the unheard-of price of $8. There's also house-made soda and local craft beer on offer. However, in an audaciously un-Wellington move, there's - gasp! - no coffee.
'Fast food' it may be, but 1154 is no fluorescent-lighted food court. The floor-to-ceiling windows let in glorious natural light, which washes over the dark wood, duck-egg-blue tiling and carefully curated touches of greenery.
Then there's the unique seating design. There's a smattering of individual tables, but most diners will end up sitting at the enormous long table in the middle of the room, rubbing shoulders with strangers who may become friends by the end of the night.
While the dining is modern, the building itself, on the corner of Cuba and Ghuznee, has quite the history. Long-time Wellingtonians might remember it as Ernesto’s, formerly Krazy Lounge, which was formerly known Krazy Rick’s.
In 2011, Ernesto’s went the way of many a great Wellington business, closing because of earthquake risk, and the building sat tragically empty for many years. From across the road at Italian-dining institution Scopa, Leonardo and Lorenzo Bresolin stared at 132 Cuba Street for long enough to birth an idea to transform the empty space.
If you're in for a quick solo meal, park yourself at one of the window seats for the best people-watching in town. And while you're there, give a wave to the folks across the road at Scopa to thank them for yet another exciting addition to the Wellington food scene.