A clichéd cure of the post-holiday blues for us Stongs is often a trusted visit to a Mediterranean restaurant in the hope that the taste and atmosphere of the place will transport us back to those sunny, balmy climes, if just for a couple of hours.
Truth be told it rarely works, but at Terra Rossa they come pretty darn close.
The restaurant was opened by a family from Salento in Italy – a place where growing up was “all about food,” says the website, and the time and love which is put into eating there has been transported across Europe to give us Londoners a little taste of life in Puglia.
Terra Rossa is based in Islington’s Upper Street, and if ever you find yourself across the other side of the river, you could do far worse than popping in for a quick bite.
I’ve lived in Islington all my life and rarely do I walk along Upper Street without noticing a new restaurant which has opened its doors, such is the tough fight for survival in the businesses.
But if our meal at Terra Rossa is anything to go by, then this one is here to stay.
To start I went for Polpa A Pignatu, the braised Mediterranean Octopus, potatoes and bread in a black pepper sauce (£10.90). Octopus is an acquired taste and can be very strong, but this was cooked to perfection – tasty and not too chewy, which is often a problem with the seafood.
My wife, Hayley, had the Burrata, creamy mozzarella with fresh peppers (£10.90).
As our daughter, Nellie, usually takes her time savouring every last bite, staff brought her margherita pizza main up with our starts, but so tasty as it was she had actually finished before our mains arrived.
I stuck with fish for main, plumping for the Filetto Di Orata – pistachio gratin seabream filet served on layered potatoes (£16.90). The fish was again cooked to perfection, and if anything came with too many potatoes – but hey, if the only thing you’re complaining about is too much food then there’s not too much going wrong, I reckon.
Hayley went for the Ravioli & Asparagus (£15.50), which she said was excellent.
Full almost to the brim, I still couldn’t resist the homemade signature sponge cake with custard to finish, all washed down with a couple of glasses of excellent white wine from Puglia. In fact, were it not for the rain outside, we could have almost been there.
- We visited on a Saturday but weekday two-course lunches are also available for £15.50. A children’s menu, of main course and dessert, costs £8.90.
- Terra Rossa, Upper Street, Islington, N1. Closest Tube: Angel (Northen line) and Highbury & Islington (Victoria line).