Plin = ‘a pinch’; the curiously shaped little pasta parcels are closed and sealed by pinching them together.
When wandering around East London I came across a little pastificio called ‘Burro e Salvia’ (butter and sage), which in my opinion are the best two accompaniments to ravioli so, understandably, I was intrigued. The little locale has a tiny counter where you can buy fresh pasta to take home and cook yourself, an even smaller counter piled high with dough and dusted with flour where you can watch the fresh pasta being made and a few tables nestled at the back to sit down at and enjoy a bowl of delicious pasta.
Inside, I lapped up all the visuals thirstily. Simple designs with unexpected twists: a chandelier made of twisted and ribboned plastic bottles, lampshades made of egg box style cardboard, and pasta of all shapes and colours. I was delighted – like a kid who had just walked into Willy Wonka’s factory, my eyes were wide with wonder.
Sadly, the man at the counter was far from friendly, the shop is a Shoreditch honeypot and they are only too aware of it. I was made to feel like I was disturbing him by asking questions about the various ingredients in the ravioli. Forgive me for not knowing what broccoli rabe is (apparently a green cruciferous vegetable also known as rapini). The condescension increased when I ordered only 200g of the Plin ravioli – I ended up having to excuse myself and say that we were only buying it to try, not as a full meal. In truth I just don’t have the money to justify spending £10 on ravioli for two people (£2.50/100g and you need around 200g a person really). The cost to sit down and eat a plate of the ravioli we chose was £12 – which is £7 more than buying the pasta (200g) and making the sauce yourself at home. I very strongly doubt the experience would have been worth it for me personally.
We chose the plin ravioli – a beetroot pasta (hence the delicate dusky pink colour) filled with the broccoli rabe, potato and parmesan. The assistant suggested we try it with an anchovy sauce (which is how they serve it in the restaurant) however I opted for just butter so as not to overpower the flavours. I’ll be honest, the ravioli were very, very good. The filling was a perfect texture, a silky smooth puree with a very subtle taste of broccoli and with a slightly sweet underlying note. They didn’t need more than just the butter to be a delicious meal, and i’m glad I didn’t use a stronger accompaniment like anchovies the first time I tried them.
I really loved the food and decoration at Burro e Salvia, but I was somewhat priced out and also a bit disappointed by the service (however everyone has a bad day so i’m willing to overlook the latter).
If I had more money and wasn’t very good at cooking, I’d be here all the time. As it is, I’m happy I stumbled upon it and will use their recipes as inspiration to make my own ravioli at home – I would definitely never have thought of putting broccoli and potato inside.
Overall I’d say everyone should visit this little treasure trove at least once!