Eat - Sadivino

Small wonder

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A conscious lack of fuss, frills and inflated prices may be a welcome shock to the system for visitors to Italian café Sadivino

The Meal

On paper there shouldn’t be anything particularly special about Sadivino. A relatively anonymous Italian café/delicatessen, hidden away at the quiet end of West Richmond Street, it hardly cries out for attention, probably failing to register with the majority of passers by. The food too hardly seems like head turning stuff: a basic selection of paninis, salads and desserts, all served in fairly pokey confines six afternoons a week.

Its proprietors Alessandro and Carmen’s keen - some might say obsessive - attention to detail that, after just three years of trading, has seen it gather a diverse and fiercely loyal clientele however. An artichoke might just be an artichoke to you or I, but unless it’s been imported specially from one of just two pickings a year at San Severo in the Gargano region of Italy, for this husband and wife team, it simply won’t cut the mustard.

Remarkable, really, when you consider their prices - some of which seem almost benevolent by comparison with other eateries in the area. Only a handful of main course options push the £4 mark; desserts come in at an average of £1.80, making Sadivino popular with students and workers alike - if a relatively rough and ready operation.

Seating just 25-30 people at a compact arrangement of tatty wooden tables and chairs, service is brisk, but somehow adds to an overall busy, cosmopolitan buzz of the place. Local events posters, specials boards and shelves stacked with pasta and wine jostle around you for wall space. Italian accents are always noticeable among the steady flow of customers - as good an indication as any of the café’s authenticity.

Not that that could be faulted when you consider a full 75% of products are imported directly from Italy. Quality is absolutely paramount: the beef bresaola and provolone salad might be simple, but each component is fresh, sprightly and bursting with flavour. Desserts are something of a speciality: panacotta, crème brûlée and tiramisu are the familiar choices, although affogato - a glass of cold espresso, with a dollop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream drowned in it (known as a ‘cold shower’) - is a perfect for perking you up after a particularly lazy lunch.

If you fancy sampling a little of the Sadivino experience in the home, much of the produce they use is on sale in their shop, along with a selection of ‘fine wines’ handpicked by Alessandro himself. Since two courses and coffee averages little more than a fiver, however, it’s not hard to convince yourself to pop in and let them prepare the meal for you. One that will be - as they very modestly put it - ‘no frills, no fuss’, but still fantastic value for money, and thoroughly distinctive to boot.

Sadivino

52 West Richmond Street, Edinburgh, 0131 667 7719
Mon-Fri 9am-6pm; Sat 10am-6pm. Closed Sunday.
Two courses are around £5
Sadivino pride themselves in the knowledge that over
75% of their stock and ingredients are imported directly from Italy.

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