Isn’t there something really humbling when you discover that where you’re dining is a true and true traditional family-run restaurant. Family-run in the sense that there’s history, a story, generation worth of experience and that same passion for good food that once started the venture.
Well, that appears to be what Salvo’s is in a nutshell.Shimmy back to 1976, Salvatore Dammone opened up Salvo’s in Headingley with the ultimate aim to bring the taste from home, Southern Italy, to Leeds.
Salvo’s was born out of the purest intention to give the Leeds folk a real Italian foodie experience, and it’s one that continues to do so even after 40 years.
If you look closely, you might even spot a sweet black and white photo hung up on the wall. That, ladies and gent, is Mr and Mrs Dammone. A nice touch, ey? Today, Salvo’s is in the safe hands of the sons of Salvatore, John and Gip, who are continuing their family’s legacy.
The brothers are Yorkshire Italian’s, food enthusiasts (obviously), entertainers and quirky, and in terms of their dishes, these qualities are represented throughout.
Having recently undergone a refurb, what better way to make a fuss than with a new menu launch too. The makeover has given Salvo’s a super pinch of pizzazz, an almighty dash of flair and an impressive handful of cosiness.
Delightful, and very easy to eat. It was nice to see bruschetta served differently and the creamy white beans with the smoky ‘njduja was a delicious combination.Continuing the smokiness, the Insalata di Polpo was brought out, with the dominant features of the dish being the charred octopus and smoked aubergine.
The depth of flavour was certainly a highlight, making this a dish easy to remember.One of my favourite foods, especially when we’re eating out, is arancini, as it’s something I wouldn’t dare make myself. So when this delight was set in front of me, in three bites it was devoured.
This scrumptious mushroom risotto bomb was served with a side of rocket salad and truffle aioli.
The conversation was in full swing, as we nattered away talking about travels to Italy, the Dammone story and ethical eating. Meats served at Salvo’s are sourced locally, the lamb comes from a Yorkshire farm and poultry from Lancashire.Petto d’Agnello was the first meat course we shared. Roasted lamb belly that just melted in your mouth and the spoon of Guancia di Bue was equally as satisfying.
Neat layers of ox cheek, truffled mash, confit shallot, Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom jus. And surely it wouldn’t be a visit to an Italian if a slice of pizza or two wasn’t eaten. We tried the classic Margherita, spot on, and the Porco Rossa which was served with belly pork, ‘nduja, and pancetta, delish!
Also, please take a moment to appreciate that dang awesome pizza cutter! If you’re looking for a juicy fish with white meat, I’d recommend opting for the Nassello, roast Hake with smoked leeks and red pepper butter.
Star of the show for this dish though was the purple potato ravioli. It was a first having potato and pasta as one, and it worked so well. We finished the night off with two desserts. A gooey dark chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream, Tortino di Cioccolato, and a Crema Di Brulee, a chilled apple crumble with a Crème Brulee twist.
Sweet, refreshing and ever so heavenly. This was my favourite dessert. The night was wrapped up with a sambuca coffee (which is absolute madness), a full belly and a humbling feeling of looking forward to coming back. It’s the simple and consistent formula of great food and atmosphere which I can fully understand makes Salvo’s what it is today.
Have you been to Salvo’s before? I’d love to hear your thoughts or favourite dishes.