Francoforte Spaghetti Bar, Northbridge
(Two reviews on separate occasions)
There are certain people that you love spending time with (and by that, I mean quality time, with people who make you laugh a little more, smile and appreciate life). They’re the people who relish your passions, respect you, understand that everyone has individual differences and will willingly put conversation with you prior to social media/phone consultation. I’m going on this spiel because as I get older, I’ve come to realise that it’s not the quantity of your social group, but rather the quality of the people you surround yourself with.
I’ve got a good batch of friends now that I can depend on for outings – whether that be for dinner or lunches, a random exercise sesh at Jacobs Ladder, picnics, or games night. It’s a bunch of people that include my sister, my two best friends from high school, and a childhood friend I reconnected with after a good seven years. The best thing about having friends that are supportive, is that they spur you on, whether that be career advice or life insecurities. These people know me – they don’t complain when I whip out the camera (or “ban” me from taking food photos) and wait patiently when I snap away. Simply because, they respect my process, my creative outlet and they are all pretty easy going. And that’s basically all you need in people you can depend on, and have lots of fun with.
This particular night, we were all catching up for dinner. We had spent the last few catch up sessions rotating a hosted dinner at each other’s houses, and decided to let someone else do the dishwashing for a change. My friend had suggested Francoforte Spaghetti Bar, and I was an immediate yes. I needed some pasta in my belly, stat. I also needed something to quench my thirst, which came in the form of San Pellegrino’s Aranciata Rossa (or, as I like to call it, Italian Fanta).
Francoforte Spaghetti Bar does not do reservations, so my sister went there early at 5:40pm to secure us the (only) big table there. She sat there, grinning like a loon, while the rest of us were (predictably) late. But we all got there by the 6pm mark, all eight of us. I loved the outlay of Francoforte, with the exposed cement walls, dark timber flooring, dazzling fluorescent lights that skated the patches of grey. It was all very rustic and urban, like a modern New York apartment, or maybe a kitchen loft. Very cool. Along one side were stacks of tinned tomatoes, Roma Italian, just incase you forgot it was an Italian restaurant.
My sister and her boyfriend ordered the Antipasto platter ($9) to share which came with bread, artichoke, cheese, a mixed salad and homemade olives. The antipasto plate was a bit too simplistic in my opinion – I was expecting a bit more meat, maybe cold cuts like ham, or a few rounds of chorizo. Instead there was an abundance of olives, some fruit (rock melon), sun dried tomatoes, and something extremely sour in the middle that looked like currents. There was a bit of Italian sausage, but it was rather thinly sliced. I suppose for $9 it was expected that it wouldn’t have an abundance of meat, but I still wish it had a bit more. It was very striking presentation wise however, with big swirls of black balsamic.
We ordered a bunch of pasta dishes to share, which turned out to be a great idea (especially for a food blogger who likes to sample everything). Squid in Vino ($16) was a pasta dish with baby squid, chickpeas and white wine sauce. There was also that surprise of actual squid ink drizzled on top. Curled up pieces of squid were scattered in a potent ink sauce – it tasted like the sea, fresh and a touch fishy. The sauce turned promptly into a pool of black within a couple few turns of the fork, like water turning into red wine. It was the one dish everyone kept on going back to after taste testing the first round of pasta dishes!
The Eggplant Sugo ($16) was my second favourite dish of the night, prominently because of the juicy sweetness of the seasoned eggplant. Placed against the backdrop of the tomato sugo, it splashed a combinations of flavours across the palate – zesty, punchy tidbits. The eggplant also added a touch of oiliness to the spaghetti, which really attributed further to the flavour and the wonderful texture of the pasta. I literally had to fight my best friend for the last few strands – it was a pasta plastering of fists!
The Guanciale Carbonara ($16) was the hell raiser at our table because everyone wanted a big piece of it. I loved the cream sauce, mostly because it wasn’t stodgy like many white pasta sauces can be – instead it lightly coated the pasta, mingled with feathery shaves of parmesan and pecorino cheese. The salty crispiness of cured pigs cheek, so similar to bacon but a little lighter, added some fantastic flavour and texture to the dish.
The Cartdriver’s Pasta ($16) included porcini and portobello mushrooms (fungi, I translated in my head – it was one of very few words I actually remember from high school Italian, one which also included torta… I think I’m starting to see a food related pattern in my foreign language recall….). It also came with tuna, onion and tomato. The whole dish was decidedly too fishy for me due to the large presence of tuna and I felt it was also a touch saltier than all the other dishes.
The Porco Rosso ($16) was a meaty dish of Italian tomato sugo and traditional pork sausages, which resembled crumbling meatballs. I loved the sharp acidity of the tomato sugo, which really lifted the fattiness of the pork sausages. The boys all really enjoyed this dish because it was the one with the most meat content and succeeded in filling up the final spots and spaces in our tummies.
I don’t remember whose idea it was to order an extra side of bread ($2 for 2 slices), but I was super glad we had something to mop up those remains of pasta sauces which sat swimming, lonely at the base of the dishes. It was crusty on the outside, and perfectly spongy inside. An inspired side dish for pasta!
Spaghetti was a perfect foil for a wet and windy Thursday night, Francoforte’s cosy, warm interior a small niche hallowed out in a little arcade. We saw half a dozen people we knew, all trying to escape the rain while we waited with contented stomaches. Service was terrific, headed by the lovely bubbly girl with the top ponytail, who served us at the till and then later handed us our crazy number of pasta dishes.
We all got a bit confused about what we had actually ordered (the sheer size of everything), but the girl took it on board with a big smile, and listed off all our dishes again, against the docket. To have that patience on a Thursday night is a serious merit. The only downside was the wait on our food, which reached just past the 30 minute mark. To be fair though, we did order A LOT of food.
I would certainly recommend Francoforte Spaghetti Bar to anyone who happens to be in the Northbridge area. The ambience of Francoforte is commendable, a simple layout that utilises dim lighting and polished timber to create a moody, intimate atmosphere, which definitely fits into Northbridge’s character. Every strand of pasta was cooked to perfection, which is saying something when you are plating up five large dishes of spaghetti. Benissimo!
L’s Rating: 7 out of 10
My boyfriend and I visited Francoforte after much rave about their pasta, and intended to have a quick dinner before going to a show in Mt Lawley. I had walked past Francoforte before it was open, back when it was still under construction, and I was already keen on trying to place out before I even knew what it was. I knew we had to go as soon as we had the chance.
I ordered the Guanciale Carbonara ($17), which was delicious, and very simple. There was salty cured pig cheek that was almost like pan-fried pancetta. This dish didn’t need any other additional seasoning, as the pasta alone had lots of flavour, and it was full of Parmesan and Pecorino so the dish was moist but not as creamy as carbonara usually gets. The sauce was minimal but was packed full of flavour, and the pasta was cooked perfectly.
As a huge Studio Ghibli fan, my boyfriend got the Porco Rosso ($17) purely because of that… but also because it was more of a sauce-y kind of pasta dish, which generally has a more strong and sharper flavour with all the tomato flavour in it. The Porco Rosso didn’t disappoint — there was heaps of flavour in the sauce and meatballs. I actually preferred it more than my Guanciale Carbonara dish. There was also a couple of slices of Italian sausage in there which was great. Also very simple though, but who needs a full on pasta dish?
A’s Rating: 8 out of 10
Address: 4/189 William St Northbridge, 6003
- Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm to 10pm for dinner.
- Francoforte Spaghetti Bar has a small menu, but also includes dessert, including their tiramisu (priced at a pretty cheap $6)! They also do coffee too.
- No reservations available.
- L + A