[SG] Buona Terra | hidden fine dining Italian gem on Scotts Road

Saturday, December 20, 2014

As more cafes and restaurants pop up in all corners of Singapore, I always get immensely fascinated when I dine at an exotic venue, be it a mansion or the likes of a British colonial home. As land gets increasingly scarce in Singapore, many of such lovely spots naturally gets converted to a high-rise luxury condominium or even shopping malls due to commercial reasons.

While many high-end residential homes have been constructed around the area of Newton, part of Scotts Road preserves these gorgeous-looking colonial homes for dining options. It was almost like a retreat for us as we scrambled from the buzz of Raffles Place to indulge in a fine Italian cuisine at Buona Terra.

With a presence of more than two years in its current location, Buona Terra introduced a brand new lunch service as of 1 December 2014! With a variety of starters and mains to choose from, one can expect to enjoy a taste of North Italy with a three-course menu at S$38/++. Of course, you would want to impress your companions with some curated house pours at an additional S$16/++.

Complimentary warm rolls and onion focaccia

Unlike some restaurants that serve mass-produced rolls, the warm rolls and fluffy focaccia are baked fresh daily in-house. With a dash of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, certainly a teaser to our palate already!

Cured Salmon Carpaccio with Orange and Capers (Starter on the lunch menu)

The cured salmon carpaccio is served with caviar, salmon roe, capers and finished with orange chunks to make it a titillating starter. We also liked that the four slices of salmon had consistent thickness. The salinity in the cured salmon and accompanying caviar and salmon roe was balanced by the acidity and sweetness of the ripe orange chunks that made it a joy to savour.

Antica Fratta Essence 2008

With an interesting combination of 85% Chardonnay and 15% pinot, this sparkling wine is exclusively available in Singapore at Buona Terra only. Almost a hybrid between white wine and champagne, it is one of the few rare occasions where I actually would not mind a second glass of this refreshing and crisp glass of goodness. 

Caprese Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese, Heirloon Tomato and Basil Pesto Sauce

While this seemed like an easy dish, it impressed us with the quality of the ingredients. We also liked the choice of fresh greens such as the crunchy heirloon tomato and the basil pesto sauce that was bursting with fresh green flavours.

For the mozzarella cheese, it was sliced into three chunks and while we enjoyed the slightly elastic and bouncy texture, what set it apart was the aged balsamic vinegar.

I am sure most people would be familiar with wine pairings for their food but aged balsamic vinegar pairing is certainly the first for us! Originated from Reggion Emilia, these priced aged balsamic vinegar were probably the finest we have ever tried.

Starting from the left, the Aragosta Label is aged for nine years and carries a delicate perfume and pleasantly intense acidity which makes it an ideal choice for plain cheese or even fresh vegetables and marinades. The middle bottle is the Argento Label, which has been left to mature for at least 15 years, which gives it a more concentrated but softened sensation of the acidity. It gave both a sweet and sour taste that was gorgeously complex, perfect for your first and second course. Last but not least, the Oro Label on the extreme right corner contains a truly aged rendition of the balsamic vinegar of at least 25 years. Surprisingly, the acidity was mellow and this came across almost like honey where the fully complexity of its intense scents make this a lovely addition to mature cheese or even desserts!

Squid Ink Tonnarelli with Bamboo Clams and Bottarga

The squid ink Tonarelli pasta was cooked perfectly to al dente but what set this otherwise dull-looking dish was the flavourful bamboo clams and Bottarga, which is silver mullet roe which has been cured with sea salt and dried. It imparted a dose of sea salt freshness to the dish that elevated its appeal to our palate, not to mention the added texture with its grittiness. 

Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek with Potato Cream and Red Wine Sauce

While the dish was simply plated, the flavours and texture of this dish were everything to crave for. The prized Wagyu beef cheek was treated with utmost respect by Chef Denis who braised it extensively to result a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy. The flavours of the red wine sauce were somewhat subdued however in its creamy gravy though the velvety smooth potato cream recovered the dish.

Feudi Pisciotto | Eterno 2011

We were pampered with this red wine pairing that carried a gorgeous fragrance, almost cask-like, that made it one of the top Italian wine selection. With a limited produce of just 4,500 bottles per year, Buona Terra has the exclusivity to supply in Singapore.

Fresh Mix Berries with Mascarpone Cream, Chocolate Soil, Banana Cake and Olive Oil Ice Cream

An innocent looking dessert which packed so much complexity and flavours, this was certainly one darling to cleanse our palate after some savoury starters and mains. The crumbly chocolate soil added some grittiness to the otherwise smooth olive oil ice cream which left a fond after taste after each spoonful. Do not however expect big punch of flavours but rather a subtle finishing with this dessert.

Petit Fours

It is always a lovely gesture of the chef to dish out an assortment of pastries to make sure diners leave on a pleasant note, almost literally. All the handmade confections were spot-on with the desired level of sweetness, only to be balanced with a lovely cup of mint tea to aid digestion too!

With a relatively small interior fit for no more than six tables, you can be assured privacy even if you dine in the hall area. For more exclusivity, call in advance and you can have the private room on reserve.

Service was immaculate as you can expect utmost attentiveness to your needs. Jeffrey, who was serving us for the evening was also extremely knowledgeable and friendly in his disposition as we learnt much about the cuisine and the respective dishes served.

With the launch of their lunch menu at such affordable prices, it would certainly be a perfect spot to impress your business associate. The complimentary valet and parking service makes it a fuss-free affair when it comes to lunch or even dinner!

Special thanks to Chef Denis for having us and Chief Sommelier Gabriele for the lovely wine pairings!

Overall Verdict: 8.0/10

Buona Terra
29 Scotts Road
Singapore 228224
Tel: (+65) 6733 0209

P.S. Special thanks to Lay Peng for the invitation and Buona Terra for having us!

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