I am so shocked that I have lived in Leeds for almost two years and have only recently experienced Salvo's. For some reason or another, any plans I had previously made to go to Salvo's had fallen through. I've wanted to dine at Salvo's even before it became famous by its well deserved win of 'Best Local Italian' on Gordan Ramsay's F word, which only adds further to my attraction.
My Grandparents happened to be in Leeds for the weekend and so we arranged to meet for dinner. Fortunately, they agreed to follow my recommendation of Salvo's.
We arrived on a very humid Friday evening just after 6pm and were preparing for about an hour's wait (because we were aware that Salvo's is exceptionally popular). We were warmly greeted and to our surprise we were seated immediately!
As soon as we were given our menus, three slices of freshly baked doughy focaccia drizzled with olive oil arrived at our table to nibble on while we contemplated every delicious dish on the menu. I had previously looked at the menu online before we went, (massive loser, I know) to try and speed up my decision making process. I always struggle to make choices in a restaurant, as I pretty much love everything!
As my family generally do, we agreed to sample each others dishes. This (you would think) should have helped speed up my decision... but after much deliberation, I decided on my choice.
As my Grandparents hadn't seen their eldest Grandaughter for three whole years, they decided to go all out (brilliant news!!). We ordered the pizza marinara for our 'pre-starter' - pizza style bread with tomato, garlic and oregano.
I chose my starter from the daily specials; seared scallops with pancetta, roasted red peppers and rocket.
The scallops were cooked to perfection, and there was a successful subtle balance in flavour combinations.
I also ordered my main dish from the daily specials; char-grilled venison with mash, creamed leeks and a red wine sauce topped with two grilled king prawns.
I can't remember the last time I ate red meat and have been dying to eat venison for years. This was the first time I had seen it on a menu so went for it! The waitress recommended I had it served pink. It was so tender and juicy - totally satisfied my craving!
After attempting to finish off my Granny's king scallop and langoustine risotto (truly stunning - how they can make something that looks so plain taste so divine is beyond me!), I truly felt the stretch in my stomach, however, there is always room for dessert!
To save deliberation, we ordered the dessert taster platter. This included the Sicilian lemon sorbet, amaretto-soaked cherries, Sicilian lemon cheesecake, dark chocolate truffle torte, panna cotta and tiramisu.
The Sicilian lemon sorbet had invigorating fresh and zesty flavours, it had a tanginess that made it unique compared with any other sorbet I have tried. The amaretto cherries are always a winner with me. Panna cotta would never be my first choice for dessert, however, this panna cotta melted into a luscious creamy vanilla puddle in your mouth - heaven! The moisture of the tiramisu was well balanced, not soggy and not too dry.
It's not hard to believe that Salvo's own the title of 'Best Local Italian' when every dish served was so well executed.
We topped off the meal with a spot of liqueur - Frangelico for me (hazelnut and herb flavoured liqueur flavoured with cocoa and vanilla berries) and Strega for Grandad (sweet and bold with strong minty notes).
The meal, the atmosphere and the company were faultless. It was exactly what I needed during the horrific stress time of summer exams. Thank you Gramps! :)