Burro and Salvia (Butter & Sage) is not mainly a restaurant but a “pastificio”, which is both a pasta workshop and a shop. It opened in Summer 2013 on the ubertrendy Redchurch Street, in the heart of Shoreditch and close to our former flat. It became an instant hit with both me and HW (he loves his proper Italian food) and we quite miss it now that we lived further East. In the meantime, they have also opened another branch in East Dulwich (proof it is becoming trendy), so Souther Londoners are in luck too!
A Pastificio is a usually tiny shop front selling only freshly made pasta and occasionally a couple of ready dishes, all prepared daily and throughout the day in the workshop at the rear. Most formats of dry pasta are cut in front of you on request. Traditionally, a pastificio in Italy will be swamped on Thursdays (the day for gnocchi) and Sundays, where is more common to eat fresh filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini.
I think the pictures speak for themselves about the place- it’s homely, it’s airy, it’s light, it’s Italian in a non- stereotypical modern way. Can you tell I am a bit in love?
All the fresh pasta is made on the premises and often cut in front of you, with great scenic effect; they also sell sauces and a few selected Italian products – if you’re lucky, even some truffles when in season. It also has a lovely dining area with a small but perfectly formed menu and a selection of drinks and wines from Italy. East End crowds love the vintage looking Chinotto and Aranciata from italian premium brand Lurisia.
Burro e Salvia owner Gaia comes from a career in food PR and communications, which is reflected in the attention to every detail of the branding- but she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty with making ravioli, and I can see true sparkle in her eyes as she talks passionately about her suppliers, the inspiration behind the recipes and the search for the best ingredients. And it’s not empty marketing- speak. The food is truly, absolutely delicious. Chef Luca Seminara oversees the kitchen.
Pasta fillings and sauces change with season and availability and there often are weekly “themes”, like green pasta o fish pasta. My favourite is their signature format- Agnolotti Cavour, similar to small square ravioli and filled with meat and herbs. The thin, melt-in the mouth dough complements perfectly the unique munchy texture of the filling , which is obtained by shredding and pounding the meat by hand rather than on a blender, following a recipe by the most renowned pasta artisans in Turin, Italy.
Prices are very reasonable, with even the most expensive type of filled pasta to take away at around £5 per portion. Burro e Salvia also hosts pasta making classes, workshops and events.
52 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP London
ph 020 77394429
151 Lordship Lane, SE22 8HX London
ph 020 86930331