The Artisan Pasta Maker, review - feast your eyes on Edinburgh's prettiest pasta
The counter at this new venue is filled with what looks like haberdashery.
Under glass, their wooden drawers feature neat rows of green pin-cushion parcels containing mortadella, pistachio and ricotta; frill-edged ravioli that are pot bellied with porcini and velvety-looking yellow tortellini stuffed with pecorino sardo and chestnut honey. Oh my.
This is the fresh pasta that, over the last couple of years, The Artisan Pasta Maker has been selling at Stockbridge and Leith Markets, for customers to takeaway and cook at home. They all look so tactile and pretty, I would be sad to simmer them.
Still, now you can get someone else to do the dirty work, thanks to the small restaurant and shop that this independent business opened in the summer. The menu is up on the wall, and there are a couple of seats indoors and on the pavement.
Rather than table service, you order at the till, but it’s a bit of a sensory overload. I couldn’t stop staring at the pasta on display.
I was bewitched. My other half had to poke me, so I’d give my order to someone who may or may not have been the owner, Milena Burattelli, who is originally from Maremma in Tuscany.
“Um, um”. I ended up going for the first three dishes I saw, and we paid in cash, since their card machine was down. (Outside next door’s supermarket, Margiotta, there’s a cash machine that mugged me off for £1.50 and has the clartiest-looking keypad I’ve ever touched).
Then we bagged one of the two indoor tables - just in time, as there was a flurry of customers just after our entrance - and I checked out the rough-looking walls, which have been prettified with smudges of kintsugi-like gold leaf.
The food comes pretty fast, as is apt. I’ve often thought that Edinburgh needs a place like this - where you can get a bowl of pasta for under a tenner, in casual surroundings.
When it comes to eating, you can't be self conscious. The queue was beside the inside seats, and my dining partner was attempting to slurp daintily, as jealous customers tried to spy on what was in our bowls. He had the tagliolini nduja e burrata (£8.50), with a pile of sturdy pasta ribbons that were coated in a red and piquant nduja and sweet tomato spicy sauce. This scarlet whorl was topped by a pure white bean-bag of burrata, which was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a confetti of parsley.
This is the sort of dish that makes you feel as if you’ve come home, taken off your shoes and wrapped a slanket round your shoulders.
I’d gone for the tortelli Maremmani (£10) from Burattelli’s home region. They’re huge - like four envelopes bulging with Euros. However, instead of the money, they were filled with oodles of spinach and ricotta and topped by Parmigiano Reggiano and nutmeg, as well as a sage butter. The eggy pasta had as much collagen-esque bounce as a baby’s cheek. I could see the queue watching me, as I snarfed it all up, with butter and herbs round my mouth. Let them stare.
We’d also unnecessarily gone for an antipasti of polpo e patate (£6). You can also choose panzanella, parmigiana or crostone from this list, and there’s a section for fritti, though they didn’t have any fried stuff left on our visit. Maybe the card machine and the fryer had collided, for an extra crispy credit crunch. Anyway, our choice was beautiful - cold and soft chunks of purple edged octopus tentacle, as well as nuggets of potato, all beautifully seasoned and doused in more olive oil, lemon and parsley.
As I finished this off, I couldn’t stop staring at the pots of tiramisu (£5) under the counter. I know that lush and creamy cocoa-dusted mixture would be excellent. I ate it with my eyes. You can order this, or millefoglie with summer berries or cannoli to sit in, and probably to take-away too, like most things here.
Unfortunately, the queue to takeaway fresh pasta was now out of the door, so I promised myself I’d try it next time.
I will also be more prepared. It’s rude to stare. Much better to eat.
138 Dundas Street,
(0131 283 8763, Instagram@theartisanpastamaker)
How much? Lunch for two, excluding drinks, £24.50