Josh Lachkovic

Burro e Salvia, Shoreditch

Whenever a restaurant closes, I’m reminded of the closing stanza of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men. There is often no grand finale, just a slow deterioration and the acceptance that things are over. For punters, it’s often a matter of simply walking past and discovering a notice on the door with the lights out.

In the five or so years that East Dulwich has been on my radar, many restauranteurs have come and gone. The site at 38 Lordship Lane has changed from charming biodynamic bar Green & Blue, to ToastED, and now rebranded as Terroir East Dulwich. Further along, longstay of the neighbourhood Le Chandelier, closed two years ago. And a few weeks ago, without me realising until today: fresh pasta Burro e Salvia closed after two years of rocky trading.

Coincidentally, LA, her sister BA and myself all visited the Redchurch Street branch of Burro e Salvia recently. I’m not sure how you define the trend of pasta restaurants in recent years, but there’s definitely been a wave. Just as pizza now defaults to sourdough, pasta defaults to fresh and affordable ala Padella, Bocca di Lupo, or Pastaio. We’re spoilt for good quality, reasonably priced pasta. (Which incidentally, is why Old Street’s Passo sits so oddly with its £15+ and small-sized pasta mains).

Burro e Salvia feels like a family run Italian, more so than some of the more recent London Italian additions. Front of house is run by fiery Italians, who were very accomodating considering we turned up without a reservation at 830 on a Thursday night.

The food here is fantastic. We shared anchovies, bread along with buratta and braised artichoke (£8) to start. Both were wonderful: the burrata exactly as it should be: rich and creamy, and the anchovies: fresh and zingy.

The five pasta mains were hard to choose between. Their signature pasta of beef, pork and spinach filled ravioli looked incredible, as did the artichoke and cardoon ravioli with buffalo mozzarella. But in the end, two of us at the duck egg garganelli with duck ragu. There’s something about slowly cooked duck meat in a pasta dish that feels like an utter treat.

The prices at Burro are on the slightly higher side compared to other familiar Italian places, but for the area was reasonably priced indeed.

After our visit, I was reminded of the south London branch and was looking forward to visiting soon. Sadly, as London Eater reports, the site has closed. What will appear in its place next on Lordship Lane will be a site to watch for. In the mean time – if you’re in Shoreditch and want a good meal, forget any of the bland eateries that line most of the streets, and head to Burro e Salvia.