Last week, my beautiful life partner took me for a surprise dinner to Salvo’s Restaurant. Salvo’s is a restaurant that I wanted to go to since I moved to Leeds really – everyone said how amazing the food was and my friends who had been to Italy said how authentic it was too. This however, was no usual night at Salvo’s, but a night of offal feasting!
Needless to say, the food was amazing. Each course surpassed the previous one and there was a lovely chatty atmosphere. I got to eat some NEW OFFAL and got some lovely ideas to bring home to cook too. If a night like this is done again, I’ll definitely go, because it was totally delicious.
Our menu came with some historical notes:
This is one aspect of Roman cooking which derived from the practice of paying the slaughterhouse workers of Rome (the most modern slaughterhouses in Europe were found in the Testaccio distrct in the 19th century) with some of the less noble parts of the beast which were then often sold on to the local hostelries. The skills and knowledge of the Roman cooks created culinary masterpieces from the cheapest ingredients, refining ‘Cucina Povera’ or the cooking of the poor, to gastronomic heights.
And so to dinner*:
Sopressata alla Toscana
Typical ‘insaccato’ from Tuscany made with the tongue and other pig bits, served with mustard fruit
What an elegant way to begin an Offal Supper, the mustard fruits were like spicy glace fruits and the ‘insaccato’ was delicious.
Roughly chopped chicken livers with anchovies, capers and white truffle oil on toast
Amazing. Anchovy and liver is awesome.
O muss’ e puorco sorpressata
Pressed pig’s head with red chilli and amalfi lemon, watercress salad.
Nasturtiums always get my vote, so I was sold even before tasting. Post devourment, this was my favourite dish. Citrus cutting through the pork, so very delicious. Tongue-tingling in the best possible way.
Zuppa di lenticchie con cetechino di Modena
Umbrian lentil soup with cotechino sausage. Originated in Modena and now traditionally served at Christmas, but borne out of hardship in the 15th century, the pigs rind is stuffed with minced lean and fat pork and cooked slowly.
Daz’s favourite. Served with some fresh shaved fennel to help cut through the richness.
Risotto con midollo di vitello
Risotto with veal bone marrow
New offal to me. Marrow in the risotto, as well as in the bone. Plus I loved delving in the bone with a teaspoon. (I couldn’t believe that the people near us didn’t eat theirs – I almost asked if I could have it, but felt I ought to be more decorous than that.)
Rognoni trifolati al senape
Lamb’s kidneys in grain mustard sauce with barone sourdough.
Yum. I ran out of things to mop the sauce up with. Again I restrained my gluttonous self from actually licking the plate.
Linguine con aglio, olio e animelle d’agnello
Pasta with garlic, olive oil and chilli, served with lambs sweetbreads alla pizzaiola
At this point I was so excited by each course that I kept forgetting to snap a photo. It was better presented before I dived in. Alla pizzaiola is with tomatoes and capers according to the staff we asked. Capers appear to be an ingredient I’m not using enough of. Again, gorgeous.
Coda alla Vaccinara
Old Roman style oxtail with celery and pine nuts, enriched with bitter chocolate, pecorino mash.
Lovely. I would have never thought to serve a chunk of oxtail as a cut in its own right. Lovely sauce and the cheesiest mash ever.
Here I am eating the prickly pear fruit brought round to freshen all our palates before dessert. Gip (one of the owners I think) brought it round and explained that he imported it to sell, but ate most of the stock himself! I’d never tried it – I would say to me it was a bit like a cross of watermelon and carrot, but a little drier than that would sound. Daz (who hates fruit) manfully tried it, but it wasn’t his cup of tea. I’d go for it again.
Pig’s blood and chocolate pot with chilli almond shortbread.
I was pretty excited to see this on the menu as it’s a pudding I’ve been meaning to make all year. Very tasty.
Thank you very much Salvo’s for making such a delicious dinner. I loved all the courses, the service was lovely and the atmosphere great. I was also really intrigued to see quite a mix of different people there too – offal is clearly a universal love! If you’ve not eaten there yet, GO, I don’t think anyone would be disappointed!
*Please note, my pictures were taken on my phone – for clearer, professional shots of the food, please go to the Salvo’s website.