Italian food in Edinburgh is a cuisine that’s done generally well without too many places standing out from the crowd. The Contini/Valvona/Crolla thing has never really been my bag, but places like Domenico’s and Piatto Verde have provided us with some highly entertaining and good quality evenings.
It was interesting to note the arrival of Sasso, in the location in Newhaven occupied by the Peacock Inn for, well…centuries. The place had had a bit of a sad end as a major 2011 refurbishment hadn’t quite worked out to best advantage leading to its final days being marked by some rather poor fare.
It has now been reworked as a family Italian under the ownership of local retail chain Margiotta. It was reassuring to see a familiar face from recently departed Italian favourite Caffe e Cucina with his hand on the tiller, though. On what I thought might be a quiet Sunday evening, I popped down to check it out.
It proved to be a very busy early evening service with more than a few extremely young customers out for their evening meal. It had a lively and fresh atmosphere.
With a bar and drinking area as you come in, which will prove a useful staging area, I was seated almost exactly at the centre of their main dining area, with evidence of further space for dining through the back.
Their menu was uncharacteristically focussed for an Italian, so I quickly alighted upon beer battered calamari to start then a house pizza to follow. I matched these dishes with house wines in appropriate colours.
The starter arrived very promptly and was a monster portion. It was a marvellous rag-tag of squid bits in light and bubbly batter. With an nduja flavoured aioli accompaniment, this was one of the better versions of this dish I’ve had in the city.
The main course pizza was similarly impressive. The base had good crispness and the topping, which brought together house sausage, red onions and good mozzarella was really tasty.
I rounded things out with far from the worst Italian roast espresso I’ve been served.
So overall, Sasso is doing very fine work and seems to have hit the ground running. It fills a good niche for a family oriented Italian that can be relied upon to serve pleasing, good value fare, in relaxed, expansive and welcoming surroundings. I’d be happy to recommend it and look forward to many future visits.
Blythe scores Sasso
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 15.5/20
I ate: calamari fritti; pizza Sasso
I drank: house white and red, water
I wore: grey and black
Total bill: £26
Address: 100 Lindsay Rd, Edinburgh EH6 4TZ