The Makaroni Pizza Pasta Bar receptionist grabbed us as soon as we walked out of the Italian Forum Cultural Centre after an event. We were told that their spaghetti marinara and lamb shanks were on specials, and they also had delicious authentic woodfired pizzas and other pasta dishes. Italian was what we were after tonight given that we’re on Norton Street, so we thought we might as well give Makaroni a go. The place was really empty for a Saturday night. In hindsight, that should have been our first warning sign.
We chose seats near the entrance and a waiter greeted us. The waiter was very friendly, but didn’t seem to speak or understand English very well. I considered it as part of the authentic experience and didn’t think much of it. We ordered the Marinated Olives ($7.90) for a starter, the Classic “Margarita” ($14.90) pizza, the Diavola ($18.90), and a beer for Richard. The waiter apparently didn’t just not speak English very well, he also didn’t seem to know the menu and had to copy from it.
After not too long a wait, the pizzas arrived — before the starter. I asked the same waiter what happened with our olives. He looked a little confused, left and returned shortly… with a tray of olive oil and vinegar. A staff who spoke fluent English was brought in to help, but we decided to forget about our entree for tonight.
Pizza Margherita, as Richard told me at the table, was a pizza made for Queen Margherita of Italy when she visited Naples. It has basil, mozzarella and tomatoes on it to represent the green-white-red colours of the Italian flag.
Where’s the green? Where’s the basil? This pizza was no Margherita. How could an Italian restaurant mess up the Italian flag? I was starting to think “Margarita” wasn’t actually a misspelling on their menu, but I double-checked and they did list basil as an ingredient.
Now I love super hot food that most people could not tolerate so I have very realistic expectations of the spiciness of restaurant food. According to the menu, the Diavola is meant to come with fresh chilli. I suppose they didn’t lie; there was chilli on it — one single tiny slice in the middle. For a “devil”, this was really, really disappointing.
We finished our food. The waiter who spoke fluent English came to ask if we wanted to order dessert since we didn’t get our starter. The previous time our order was messed up at another restaurant, we got a complimentary pizza to take home. This time our order was messed up at Makaroni, they tried to sell us more stuff.
We politely declined, paid our bill and left. At least they didn’t try to charge us for the olives that never came.
We were quite disappointed that of all the other restaurants in the area known for excellent Italian food, we ended up here. We would definitely be returning to Norton Street and maybe even the Italian Forum, but I don’t think we would be dining at Makaroni again.