The space feels light and cool, a welcome respite from the permanent drizzle that is winter in London. A handful of wooden tables stand against whitewashed walls, lit by a single skylight. When we went (midday, mid-week) there was only one other occupied table, but I would highly recommend booking as Shoreditch seems to be permanently overcrowded.
It may seem an obvious point but don’t bother going to Burro e Salvia if you’re gluten free or on a diet – the menu is short, changes often and is extremely carb-heavy. However, the first thing that struck me when I picked up the menu wasn’t actually the ample choice of impeccably-prepared fresh pasta. It was the wine list.
There, nestled amongst the familiar white, red and pink, was orange. Orange wine.
Naturally, we ordered it.
To be honest, it was rather unpopular around the table, although I enjoyed it. It reminded me slightly of Campari, with a hint of bitter herbs. The obvious joke about it being a mixture of the house red and white isn’t actually far from the truth; orange wine is made from the same grapes as white, but they are left to macerate in their skins, as with a red. The taste also combines elements of the two; orange wine has the tannin of a red wine with the lightness and acidity of a white.
Yet, however unusual the alcohol, it paled in the shadow of the food. Oh, the food.
A starter of Salami al Tartufo (truffle salami) and Finocchiona (salami flavoured with fennel seeds), accompanied by fresh bread and extra virgin olive oil so good that I let out a little moan of joy when I tasted it, was followed by tortelloni stuffed with pumpkin and goat’s cheese and dripping with warm butter and sage (an homage to the name of the pastificio – Burro e Salvia means ‘butter and sage’ in Italian).
This meal was easily one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever tasted (and that’s including an extremely pasta-heavy tour of Italy). The tortelloni melted in my mouth and was so full of delicious flavour that I found myself closing my eyes to better savour the taste. Each mouthful was just perfection. Judging by the muffled sounds of contentment that had arrived along with the plates, the Tagliolini al tartufo (pasta served the traditional Italian way, with grated truffle and melted butter) chosen by my companions was equally exceptional.
As we dipped enormous slices of panettone unceremoniously into our espresso, we were shocked to discover that two hours had slipped by since we’d first sat down. Burro e Salvia encourages the kind of leisurely feasting synonymous with Italy. Don’t bother sneaking off on your lunch break unless you’re prepared to invite your whole office along.