Assaggini - Italian small plates at Rose Street cucina.
Updated: May 14
As the trend for grazing on small plates continues this newly-opened Rose Street Italian is one of the latest to join the line-up.
Stuffy multi-course fine dining is so passé, no-one wants to feel like Brendan Fraser in The Whale come the end of a meal. Ordering a variety of plates for sharing is the new social way of eating out. At Assaggini most plates are priced around £9 and three or four for two people is recommended. The cucina's 'socials' explain, this means you can try more of your favourite meals all at once.
Dishes are pizza and pasta based although we start our evening with Croquettes and a spicy dip. My companion Di observes croquettes are more Spanish than Italian. It’s a good point however, I haven't declined a croquette ever so we dive in. Unfortunately, they underwhelm being all potato, no Bechamel and a perfunctory injection of mozzarella.
The pizza and pasta plates we sample are better. First up is simple pizza. Di comments that she prefers a thin, crispy base but I am getting quite used to the blistered puffy ones. Paccheri in a mascarpone and 'nduja sauce lands next and is rich and robust. The pasta is al dente to the minute i.e. 30 seconds less and it would be undercooked but I love my pasta firm and never flabby. Thick sauce clings to the Pacherri like a politician to their pension while a glass of crimson Primitivo complements the spicy warmth of the sugo.
Seafood spaghetti with chilli, garlic and white wine is lighter and tastes better than it looks. That is until we notice a prawn that has not been deveined. A black spot for an otherwise good dish. Presentation however, could improve all round.
There is a Spritz menu which may appeal when the sun decides to shine. As with the cocktails and glasses of vino they are priced around £9 and the serves mostly involve Campari, Aperol, and Prosecco. The bar staff look like they can shake and stir with the best of them so I look forward to sampling a White Negroni - gin, Lillet Blanc, vermouth or suze. Sex on the Beach is not for me.
I would have liked to have tried some sides like truffle or 'nduja fries, Parma Ham or Burrata not to mention desserts (Tiramisu, Cannoli, Affogato) but we run out of time.
Assaggini is a bit hit and miss on the night we visit. It is on the earthy rather than the refined side of Italian cuisine but if pasta and wine are your bag it has promise. A plate of Carbonara, Gnocchi, Fettuccine et al for a pocket-friendly price in the city centre guarantees further investigation.
66 Rose St, Edinburgh EH2 2NN - 0131 603 0090