Sarto, Duke Street, Leeds review - Simple concept is executed to high standard at pasta restaurant

The brainchild of Leeds indies Laynes Espresso and The Brunswick, Sarto is a bar and restaurant specialising in fresh handmade pasta in the ‘cultural quarter’ on the eastern edge of the city centre.

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 6:00 am

It took over a space in Munro House – formerly occupied by Ipsum Vinoteca – in the autumn after a crowdfunding appeal and a succesful series of pop-up events at Laynes.

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First impressions?

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Sarto is in Munro House, where it has taken over the space previously occupied by Ipsum Vinoteca. Picture: Gary Longbottom

We first tried to visit early on a Thursday evening when the restaurant appeared fairly empty, only to discover it was fully booked.

Lesson learned, we returned on the Monday with a booking for a pre-theatre meal. There were already a few tables occupied, mostly by couples, and it grew steadily busier.

The Scandi style decor is very of the moment, with long wooden tables and benches. There’s no separate bar area, although there are a few chairs at the counter surrounding the open kitchen.

Now on to the food

The restaurant is the brainchild of the team behind Laynes Espresso and The Brunswick. Picture: Gary Longbottom

There’s a selection of snacks with some such as olives or the pumpkin, sage and Cornish cheddar arancini well suited to those looking for just a light bite with a drink.

It’s the pasta that everyone is for though and there’s seven dishes to choose from. Just two feature meat, with three vegetarian options and two vegan-friendly dishes.

I chose the fettuccine with beef cheek ragu and Old Winchester. The buttery pasta came al dente as it should be, and the rich ragu with beautifully tender beef cheek was perfect for a winter’s night.

I managed to grab a bite of my partner’s equally tasty rigatone with lamb shoulder, sheep rustler and mint – quite a feat given how swiftly the plate was cleared.

Sarto, which opened in the autumn, specialises in homemade pasta dishes. Picture: Gary Longbottom

Room for dessert?

If you’ve not had your fill, there’s a torta caprese for the chocolate lovers or English pecorino and honey.

And the drinks?

The Scandi-style restaurant features an open kitchen. Picture: Gary Longbottom

In keeping with the carefully curated food menu, you get the sense they’ve taken the same approach with the wines, beers and cocktails. Naturally, there’s espresso and cappuccino alongside the soft drinks.

I went for a gin and tonic (£4.10) while my other half chose the Beavertown Neck Oil (£5.60).

Was it good value?

The total bill came to £28.20 – great value considering the quality of the food and the fact we had chosen the two most expensive dishes.

The final verdict

Reservations are recommended if you're heading along in the evening or at weekends. Picture: Gary Longbottom

The service was solid, if not particularly effusive, but we loved the decor and atmosphere. Add to that the high standard of cooking and the competitive pricing, and you’re on to a winner here.

Factfile

Address: Munro House, Duke St, Leeds, LS9 8AG

Telephone: 0113 345 2074

Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, 11.30am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11.30am-11.30pm; Sun, closed.

Website: sartopasta.uk/

Scores

Food 8/10

Value 9/10

Atmosphere 8/10

Service 6/10