Although Buona Terra is housed in a black-and-white bungalow next to a main road at a busy traffic junction, once we step into the intimate space of the restaurant, we are cocooned in a timeless pod. The place is small, yet we never feel that our table is too close to the neighbouring one.
Chef Denis Lucchi’s menu is straightforward. There are five choices each under sections such as Dal Mare and Dalla Terra (from the sea and land, respectively), La Pasta and I Dolci (desserts). Depending on your appetite, you can select a four-, five- or six-course meal.
The three selections we made from Dal Mare – marinated Sicilian red prawns with oscietra caviar and prickly pear soup, seared octopus in basil pesto, and seared tilefish – all showed the finesse and restraint of the kitchen in allowing the ingredients to sing on the plate. The standout pasta was the homemade truffle tagliolini with girolle mushroom, and 36-month parmesan sauce – we enjoyed every earthy, fragrant bite.
Fans of seared duck liver would find Lucchi’s version with poached peach, amaretti crumble and vin santo ice cream rich and sweet, with the crumble providing textural interest and the ice cream refreshing. The charcoal-grilled Iberico Secreto pork from the pata negra (black foot) breed was succulent and rich-flavoured, while the accompaniment of trombetta zucchini, an Italian variety, complemented the nuttiness in the pork.
Among the desserts, the Sigaro Esotico caught our eye – yes, “exotic cigar”. Looking very realistic, the cocoa wafer in cigar shape was filled with white chocolate passion fruit mousse, resting in a bed of mango sauce and coconut “ash”. Service throughout dinner by the waitstaff (Melissa) was attentive, with a very high level of engagement and initiative. It would not be an exaggeration to say she bumped up the experience by a couple of notches.
29 Scotts Road, S(228224)