Hard to believe on such a rainswept morning as today, but sat out front in the auburn-hued autumnal sunshine – bold Illy espresso in one hand, moist amaretti biscuit in the other – Salvino serves as a reminder that life’s great pleasures need not be expensive or involve exhaustive travel. Brecknock Road can provide the ingredients that give any bland weekday a flavoursome lift.
For over three decades, Sicilian brothers Antonio and Stefano have run the archetypal Italian family deli here. The specialities include own-made ravioli with intriguing combinations and ever-popular wild boar, garlic or chilli sausages, also prepared downstairs.
As Tony whips us up a decent creamy cappuccino, a stream of regulars pop in for coffee and end up with smoked salmon, or a hunk or pecorino for later.
We admire the rows of Italian vinos and spirits – including a great display of Campari and Aperol – and the array of antipasti. Some come direct from Italy, while others, like the lush balsamic onions and roast aubergine are prepared right here. We end up clutching ciabatta layered with prosciutto crudo and marinated oyster mushrooms, with a side of bright green, buttery Castelvetrano olives.
Prices are pleasantly low, with a deli sandwich around £3.50 and a short sharp espresso at £1.25, cappuccino £1.65. With the celebration of good food and drink heavy in the air, it’s almost impossible to resist a pastry accompaniment from the counter too. Therefore a pasteis de nata tart should top off this thoroughly diverting pit stop.
Find Salvino at 47 Brecknock Road N7.