Sarto LeedsDan Curley
Specialising in fresh pasta they make each day, this recent addition to Leeds’s food landscape is the collaborative lovechild between Laynes Espresso cafe and The Brunswick pub – Sarto Leeds is very much targeted at a younger hipsterish hoard. Its exposed brick, industrial pipe ceiling, dash of orange paint, lively open-plan kitchen and minimalist Scandi-furniture are about as Italian as an igloo is Cuban.
The menu is tinier than Trump’s NATO Christmas card list – seven snacks/starters, same number again for pasta mains and just two desserts. This is so they can focus on quality, service speed and reducing wastage (and reducing the bill) – and on all three counts, they succeed with flying colours.
The pan-fried gnocchi is the creamiest and the fluffiest thing I’ve ever tasted
For starter, we share a plate of sourdough bread with olive oil and balsamic dip, accompanied with a dish of baby San Marzano tomatoes, ricotta, pomegranate and marjoram. These two starters go together like pints and football – the bread is perfectly hard and crunchie, and spreading the fresh tomatoes and soft ricotta over it creates a near-magical mouth explosion.
For main I pick the pan-fried potato gnocchi with Jerusalem artichokes, nutmeg and chervil. It’s the creamiest and the fluffiest thing I’ve ever tasted, each mouthful leaving me almost in tears of joy. My mum (my plus one for today) orders the spaghetti, broccoli, roast garlic, cashew nut cream and pangrattato. She’s not impressed with the portion size – neither mains are big and it’s clear Sarto is aimed at the lunch and light dinner clientele (you’d have room for drinks after it). Her spaghetti is nicely cooked, full of flavour with the pangrattato giving the texture a nice little crunch.
You can even sit at the curved bar which surrounds the open kitchen and watch the masters at work
We wrap up by ordering one each of the two puddings – a torta caprese (chocolate rich enough to clear the third world’s debt) and English pecoroni cheese with honey – it’s two slices of cheese glazed with bee juice and a fan of thin crispy biscuits. They are marvellous desserts for just £4 – everything at Sarto is bargainous, most of the starters are around the £3-4 mark and most of the mains come in around £7-8. Amazing for such impeccable pasta.
There’s a good range of drinks, Amstel and Moretti lagers, some craft beers and a nice range of wines (bizarrely served in a whiskey tumbler, which my mum was baffled with). You can even sit at the curved bar which surrounds the open kitchen and watch the masters at work. The menu at Sarto Leeds will be changing from season to season so it’s always worth a look online before booking a table.