Friday night. 7pm. Burro e Salvia. 52 Redchurch Street.
If you're short of time, or bored of my words already, please just listen to me say this: I love this place. Please go as soon as you possibly can. And take me as your date.
Having elbowed my way into several brief conversations with these lovely people on twitter and over email (I imagine they feel greatly harassed by mine and B's adoring attentions), we were greeted with a smile and a moment of putting face to tweet. Future pasta lessons, their eggs, their wonderful chickens, their site and their success were discussed over a zingy glass of Prosecco, which was accompanied by a generous portion of parmesan which had been aged for 24 months. As other customers arrived we left the gorgeous Italian owners to greet them, snuck off to admire their wonderful Christmas gift suggestions, and then wiggled our way over to the table. Our parmesan following swiftly behind us.
An A5 card, simply crafted with their illustrated yellow logo at the top listed the evening's menu. It was read through. Multiple times. With an Andrew Graham-Dixon-esque 'mmmm' of approval. The wine menu was glanced at and the wine pairing option was offered. For once this didn't cost hundreds of pounds (in fact it was a bargain at only 20) and so the wine list was exchanged for the lovely Daniel who talked us through each glass, answering our endless questions, before disappearing off, leaving us to enjoy the weird and wonderful world of wine.
I have to admit that I was slightly nervous that this meal may not be perfection, that it may taint my idolised vision of Burro e Salvia. So with each course came a tense intake of breath before it was placed down. A couple of courses (and glasses of wine) in, and I'd calmed down. There would be no disappointment.
Stupidly I didn't steal/kindly ask if I could take a copy of the menu, so precise details and Italian names for the amazing pasta will be conspicuously absent from this post. The meat filled plin were rich and dark, the tortellini perfect pockets of pleasure (and also reiterated the fact that most British people, and 'Italian' restaurants simply haven't digested the meaning of 'al dente'), and the ricotta quenelles with truffles and parmesan were... Well, the ricotta quenelles with truffles and parmesan... They, well... There are no words. I was in heaven. Ricotta heaven (which is obviously the best kind of heaven). A contrast to the gorgeous ricotta 'cook in oven' doused in oil and herbs that we tasted/lived on for a week in Sicily, this was light and smooth, whisked with the egg yolks to add depth, covered in parmesan for the salty kick, sprinkled with truffles for the subtle, sophisticated elegance. Maurice Goudeket was not wrong in stating: 'Truffles - anyone who does not declare himself ready to leave Paradise or Hell for such a treat is not worthy to be born again'. But I would add good ricotta to that phrase.
And when I thought I could eat no more we were presented with a spongey, airy panettone, which wafted it's perfect Christmas scent across the room. If someone could invent a panettone perfume that would be great. Thanks. A generous portion of zabaione filled the little space left on the plate. And, of course, served with a sparkling glass of moscato. I defy anyone not to smile and snap a pic when that amount of Italian heaven is handed to them with a smile.
Highlight: ricotta quenelles with truffle
Lowlight: I'll come back to you if I can think of something