Meaning ‘red soil’ in Italian, Terra Rossa is a new restaurant on Islington’s Upper Street, focusing on the cuisine of Puglia – and it feels like it’s been there for years.
If you haven’t been to Puglia before, rest assured you’re in for a treat. The heel of Italy is renowned for its delicious cuisine, as Puglian-born owner François Fracella well knows. 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. Dreamy.
As you’d expect, the menu centres around home-made pasta and stone-baked pizza with ingredients sourced from small Italian suppliers.
We started with a heavenly slab of parmigiana which arrived with a very generous melted mozzarella top. Perhaps the most famous Puglian dish of all is orecchiette, served here with either turnip tops; or as we tried it with heritage yellow tomatoes, olives and broccoli purée. We’ll be back to try their much-hyped pork and beef meatballs which we’re told are very special.
Pizza-wise, we really enjoyed the more unusual flavour combo of the Bologna which was topped with both mozzarella and scamorza (so extra cheesy), plus a sprinkling of pistachio, parmesan and mortadella. Yum.
Don’t leave before trying dessert – the signature millefeuille is a satisfying creation of creamy mascarpone and fresh strawberries whilst the super simple pistachio ice cream – all we need now is the sunshine.
This is a proper neighbourhood joint and we’re sure if you’re local, you’ll be on first name terms with the friendly staff before the month is out.
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, throughout the week, lunch is priced at £15.50 for two courses.