26 Feb 2019
Bringing authentic Italian charm to Islington, Terra Rossa (‘red soil’ in Italian), on Upper Street takes diners on a flavour journey through the sun-baked region of Puglia – the heel of Italy renowned for its rich local cuisine.
Puglian-born owner François Fracella grew up in Salento and, as the son of a farmer, his life very much revolved around food – the whole family would help crush the tomato crop for passata and it was common for Francois to see figs baking in the sunshine on his roof.
Head chef Annarita Inguscio champions the delicious, simple and rustic Puglian cooking of François’ childhood in a menu that has its ethos rooted in Cucina Povera (the poor kitchen). Authentic home-made pasta and stonebaked pizza sit alongside regional specialities, many from recipes handed down through generations, and all using impeccably sourced ingredients that champion small Italian suppliers.
Highlights include starters of broad bean purée, wild chicory and toasted bread; a fabulous plate of cured meats and cheeses with fig jam; and braised octopus with potatoes and toasted bread, but the star of the show is the pasta and pizza. Pass by the restaurant and see the pasta being lovingly hand-rolled in the window at the restaurant’s custom-built pasta station. Showcasing the best in seasonal produce, the signature Puglian pasta, orecchiette, is served with turnip tops; or with heritage yellow tomatoes, olives and broccoli purée. A Terra Rossa special, the Paccheri Al Ragu Di Mare swaps the traditional meat ragu for one of seafood, whilst the ravioli, filled with the creamiest of burrata, in an asparagus and almond sauce is a must-try.
Stonebaked pizzas are topped with an array of fresh Italian ingredients; classics sit alongside more unusual flavour combinations like the Bologna with mozzarella, scamorza, crumbled pistachio, parmesan and mortadella. Other main dishes include a grilled seafood plate; seabream in a pistachio gratin and a beautiful tagliata – sliced flank steak with rocket and parmesan. Finish with the signature millefeuille dessert, created using creamy mascarpone cheese and fresh strawberries; zesty lemon sorbet; a Salento pastry tart filled with egg custard; or gluten-free almond and chocolate cake.
As one would expect from a neighbourhood restaurant, prices are accessible. Alongside the a la carte menu, there’s a three-course fixed price menu (available seven days a week) at £28, inclusive of a glass of prosecco, plus guests can enjoy two courses at lunch, Monday to Friday, for just £15.50.
The carefully curated wine list proudly champions the finest regional Italian wines with a third of the varietals from Puglia, and a selection of premium wines available by the glass via Coravin. Cocktails, as one would expect from an Italian restaurant, include spritzes using Aperol and Limoncello and the classic Negroni. Craft beers, sourced from the Birra Salento Brewery, are available on draft – try the light golden, bottom fermented, Agricola or the rich amber, hoppy Taranta with a hint of pepper.
Simplicity and authenticity are reflected equally in the décor as it is in the food with a stripped-back, airy interior featuring rustic wooden tables and chairs, a white-washed bar and wood-panelled walls. Ceramic vases, individually crafted antiquities and traditional artwork encapsulate the charm of Southern Italy whilst fully- retractable front-terrace windows bring the outside in, flooding the restaurant with natural daylight. Guests can also dine alfresco come the summer.
For family celebrations, group gatherings or intimate wedding receptions, head to the rear of the restaurant where you will find a semi-private area complete with skylight windows and banquette seating for up to 20 people. Or, discover the art of real Italian home cooking with Terra Rossa’s series of exclusive pasta masterclasses, set to launch later this year.
139 Upper Street, London, N1 1QP
020 7226 2244 | www.terrarossa-restaurant.co.uk
Monday – Thursday: Midday – 10:30pm
Friday and Saturday: Midday – 11pm
Sunday: Midday – 10pm
Issued on behalf of Terra Rossa London, February 2019.
For more information, please contact Georgina Jolley or Charlotte Waddilove at Roche Communications on 020 7436 1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org