On my way to get some Big Al’s fried chicken from The Lion’s Den Cafe, I thought I’d check out Savio Volpe, seeing as it’s just down the block. I only had room for a couple dishes, but man, was I happy to finally check it out!
Savio Volpe is located on Kingsway near Fraser. The area is a growing food-worthy mecca with Sal Y Limon, Les Faux Bourgeois, The Black Lodge, Mega iLL Pizza (just kidding), Matchstick Coffee Roasters, Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina, Ba Le, and The Lion’s Den Cafe.
I think their classy, understated branding (especially the fox drawings) are adorable. Breath of fresh air after the heavy-handed, laying-it-on-thick Spanishness of Ox & Angela in Calgary. It’s authentically Italian, but they don’t beat you over the head with it by spelling everything in Italian on the menu. And that huge window is so inviting.
The facade is grand yet minimal.
Loving the black paint.
Cover of the drink menu. That fox is hungry!
The beer list is actually good. It was put together by one of the servers, Alex, who used to work at Alibi Room and Brassneck. They’re all good quality, crowd-pleasing beers. Notice how they list the serving sizes (10oz and 16oz). Finally. Just straight-up no bullshit about “glasses”, “sleeves”, or “pints” (whatever they are, wink wink). They just list the size and the price. See, was that so hard? It’s what CAMRA Vancouver were fighting for, and now this restaurant just does it like it’s no big deal. Every restaurant should follow suit.
You can read their full menu online, but here’s some shots anyways. Ox Tongue Tonnata was tempting (I saw lots of it on Instagram), but I went with Crispy Pig’s Feet.
Ah, Bagna Cauda makes an appearance! It seems like the hot new dish this year. Had a couple renditions of it when we spent Christmas in Calgary — still working on the huge blog post about it 😛
A big draw on their menu is their fresh housemade/handmade pastas. I’ll have to wait to try them next time…
Trippa alla Romana!! Yay! Pig’s feet AND tripe in the same meal? Heaven.
Another big draw is their wood fire grill and spit. Sigh, I’ll have to try their dry-aged steaks next time…
Everything is shareable here, served family-style. Really communal. In fact, I saw a few families dining with kids. They have nice-looking high chairs here, so families don’t have to be stuck dining at Red Robin all the time 😛
The fox having a glass of vino while cooking up that chicken that never made it across the road.
Brassneck Ten Times Ten Americal Pale Ale (5.5%) – Glad to see Brassneck beers available on tap at more and more restaurants. Ten Times Ten is one of my favourite Brassneck beers. It’s a pale ale but with a bit of a heftier body and great piney Centennial hop character.
One minor niggle is the big ass, thick-walled mugs that they use. Feels like I’m at Tap & Barrel. My arms aren’t built for these…
Their fire grill and spit. Cooking with actual wood is so primal, unpredictable, dangerous…but delicious.
I sat at the counter and watched the Ferrari of meat slicers in use.
I should also mention the atmosphere: it’s loud and very busy. By 5:20pm on a Saturday, the place was already half full, and getting fuller by the minute. Still, I could hear enough of the great music they were playing — Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin’ On”, Echo and the Bunnymen “The Killing Moon”, ELO “Evil Woman”, etc. Cool, varied, and sensible playlist 🙂
Crispy Pig’s Feet with aioli ($10). Not super crispy, but delicately crispy, which made it all the more alluring. Also, very moist and unctuous inside. Squeeze of lemon…that’s all you need. Simplicity but executed very well. About the lemon: it was an actual juicy lemon. Not a dried out sliver of a lemon, but a fat juicy wedge. Seems like a simple thing, but I find myself fighting with chintzy slices of dried-out lemon far too often.
This was actually a new item on menu, added 3-4 days ago. All parts of the pig’s foot, cooked and formed into a croquette. Good seasoning — not too much, not too little. A natural with beer!
Trippa alla Romana with pecorino and mint ($12). Served with housemade sourdough bread that’s been grilled. OMG the bread. The bread. The bread! The crust is thin yet crusty/crispy. The crumb was soft, with a crumb structure that is SO appealing. And grilling it just makes it all the more better. Warmer, softer, crustier… Every place should grill their bread. I didn’t get that much sourness, but if they’re using their own sourdough starter (levain), I’m sure it’ll develop more flavour and complexity in the coming months and years, and hopefully we’ll be able to taste the terroir of the lovely Kingsway and Fraser corridor! Mmmmm, smells like the vapour lounge across the street…
Little morsels of tripe. Green stuff must be mint. The operative word with the tomato sauce is FRESH. It tasted of freshness, with subtle seasoning lifting the tomato. The tripe was very tender but still had a hint of chewiness that we all love about tripe.
VERY happy with this first visit. Now I must share it with others.
Dine Out sucks!