How the chefs at the Italian Bowl took a virtual pasta dish from video games to reality
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You don’t have to look too far to see the ways in which our obsession with food routinely transcends reality. The culinary world forever influences the culture of play; whether it’s a virtual dish depicted on screen, an iconic scene centered around cooking or eating, or a whole storyline inspired by food, glorious food. And this month you’ll get a whole new perspective on PlayStation to Plate, an innovative new restaurant concept that invites top local chefs to bring virtual meals from the PlayStation universe to life.
From Friday December 3 through Sunday December 12, three Australian restaurants will each create a limited edition menu item that reinvents an iconic IRL video game dish. Restaurants serve up their iconic creations throughout the ten days of the pop-up, but you can also have any of the dishes delivered to your door with Deliveroo.
In Sydney’s Newtown, pasta restaurant The Italian Bowl took on the task of recreating The Thief’s Pasta, from the critically acclaimed action-adventure title. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Owner Alexi Spyridis explains that it was both the scavenger hunt aspect of the game and the legacy of the virtual dish that inspired his selection. “[Nathan] Drake (the main character) is on the hunt for treasure and that’s what we do in the kitchen: look for those perfect dishes, ”says Spyridis. Concrete playground.
Thief’s Pasta appears near the start of the game when the characters Elena and Nathan are enjoying a home cooked meal while sitting on the couch together at the end of a long day. Spyridis envisioned the virtual dinner as a hearty bowl of penne pasta made with Italian sausage, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, olives and bocconcini, stating: “These flavors are common in Italian cuisine, so this was a pleasure to help bring this to life. There is also a strong appreciation for the way we all bond around the sharing of food.
The immersive real-life game experience doesn’t end there. “We want to bring them into the world of Nate and Elena,” says Spyridis. “With every order, customers receive a limited edition Thief’s Pasta porcelain bowl wrapped in an old card, a personal note from Elena on the back of a previous travel image, and torn diary notes including sketches and the pasta recipe. ” Definitely not your standard spag bowl, is it?
The restaurateur sees a multitude of similarities between game culture and food culture in general, but especially with Unexplored, musing, “Drake travels all over the world in search of treasures and that’s how Australians feel about food.” Of course, with Spyridis’ own restaurant sitting in Newtown’s multicultural culinary crucible, he sees this thirst for adventure and new flavors firsthand. “We haven’t been able to travel much over the past two years, so finding other ways to travel, whether through food or games, has helped us get by.”
Ask Spyridis and he will tell you that Unexplored also has parallels with operating a family restaurant like The Italian Bowl. “In this game you have to work together as friends and that’s exactly how we run the business, a big family working together. It’s not always easy but you always find a way,” said he remembers. “Just like Drake!”
Watch PlayStation to Plate December 3-12 in Sydney and Melbourne. You will find each dish presented on the menu in its respective place, as well as to take away via Deliveroo.
Posted on 09 December 2021 by