Scotsman Review
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  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
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October 12, 2020

Matto, Edinburgh, restaurant review

It's all about lots of toppings at the new Matto Pizza, says Gaby Soutar

I need a rebrand.

I’ll hire a big agency for the campaign.

First off is a new name, because this byline has done me no good. The picture isn’t flattering either. 

It can go in the attic, along with my face, and maybe I’ll pay Gigi Hadid, or someone cheaper, to sit in the picture byline window to the top right.

Anyway, this pizza place was formerly the rather MOR-looking Verona, though I hadn’t really noticed its Nineties exterior. 

Now it offers takeaway boxes in Snagglepuss pink and has a slightly confusing logo with an inverted second T and the A as a dripping slice of pizza.

As part of its reinvention, it courted Edinburgh food bloggers with helpings of Neapolitan-style pizza. The pink packaging was all over my Instagram feed and I wanted my emoticons to be salivating too, rather than looking all horrified and Klimt-like.

We weren’t sure if you could sit inside, under current circumstances, so booked a collection. However, on arrival, it turned out that there were a few diners eating in the small space, with its matte black paint and white tiles, a wood and gas fired oven out back, and posters emblazoned with slogans including, “Pizza is not a trend, it’s a way of life”. 

I was soon laden down and, thanks to our precious cargo, my thighs were toasty all the way home.

As their USP appears to be slightly bonkers toppings, we dodged the smaller selection of simple options, and I went for Pizza 11 (£9.50). It gave me flashbacks to a goat’s cheese and onion chutney affair that I used to occasionally get while working at the old Scotsman office, which was opposite a recent Covid casualty – the Holyrood branch of Pizza Express.

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Matto had gone a bit wilder with something similar. As well as gooey puddles of chutney, and cubes of toothpaste white cheese, they’d also plastered on a thick and spongy layer of mozzarella, sheets of crispy speck, a shovelful of caramelised pine nuts, and a bushel of rocket to hide an excess of lardy shame. I did half, then the rest the next day.

Our other version was number 8 (£9). I’d thought that its toppings sounded a bit like an explosion in a deli. But, no, it was perfect, said the happy owner of said pizza. 

He was committed to the combination of sugo, mozzarella, shredded lamb, blobs of peppery haggis, parsley and red onion, all freshened up by a zig-zag of yogurt and mint sauce. They’d been judicious enough with the toppings that the whole shebang didn’t go munchie box feral. Also, the crusts here are nicely bubbly, charcoal dappled, chewy and light.

Haggis tweeds (£3.80) are more commonly known as haggis bonbons, in case you were wondering. This set of five was pasty centred, with a robust coating of vole-coloured breadcrumbs. 

We also tried another side of four diavolo arancini (£4.50). “Let’s see how diavolo these really are,” said my heroic plus one, then did a little faint, before adding a squirt of Sriracha sauce and going back in. Indeed, they were hot, and paprika-y. 

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We also accidentally got a portion of their fries with Parmesan (£2.80). I think the price had lulled us into thinking this would be a titchy poke, but it was a massive tangled eyrie of soft chips, all knitted together with melted cheese. 

I did think about going for it, but there was no chance I could have finished with their sweet pizza (£9), which is topped by Nutella, custard, raspberries, blackberries, brownie and icing sugar. 

Instead, I went for a portion of tiramisu (£3.70). It looked a bit like a retro Viennetta, with a drift of chocolate dusted cream. There were three sponge pipes in there, and they provided a saturated hit of espresso among the fluff.

Indeed, pizza IS a way of life, and should never be considered a transient trend. And, although the newest and most swankily rebranded joint in the capital isn’t going to knock my ultimate favourites – East Pizzas, Razzo, Pizzeria 1926 and Civerinos Slice – off the winners podium, it can definitely hold its own.


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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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