Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Buona Terra: Gem along Scotts Road

We were truly excited to know that we are visiting Buona Terra. While it is fairly common to get degustation menus at French restaurants, hardly are we able to think of any that does this to Italian fare.

Menu is totally customised by Chef Denis Lucchi, tailoring the menu according to the guest's dietary preference and restrictions. To augment the experience, we suggest to opt for the excellent wine pairing done expertly by Chief Sommelier Gabriele Rizzardi, who at the same time is an superb host.

If you are not ready just yet for the degustation menu, Buona Terra has the constellation menus of which you can select 3, 4 or 5 dishes from a set list, with any combinations of appetisers, mains and desserts.

And so we present: The Good Earth Menu

Bread basket and bread sticks! A selection of sesame, squid ink and rosemary crisp. Don't say we didn't warn you. The breads can be addictive! We had to politely reject the offer of a second basket knowing that 10 dishes lies ahead of us.

The bread were complemented nicely with the olive oil, sea salt and special balsamic vinegar. The best balsamic vinegar is the 25 year Gold Balsamic which can be seen in the right most of the picture below. The taste was heavenly smooth yet lingers in the tastebuds for as long as you dont take a sip of water. Extremely elegant and unique with exclusivity.

Amuse Bouche of smoked salmon and salmon roe. To whet the appetite and get things going!

Hokkaido Scallop Tartare in “Ceviche” with Beluga Caviar

Paired with Antica Fratta Essence 2008. This Scallop dish was a light and very sweet starter. Beluga caviar is not as what we expected (we had salty ones) and some are neatly embedded into the scallops that gives a nice crunch to the otherwise silky scallop. The Tomato broth which Chef Denis added to the dish brought a clean taste to the luscious start. The lightly macerated sparkling wine pairing adds that little joy and anticipation while lending a elevation to the freshness of the ensemble. (7/10)

Iberico Ham “Pata Negra” with Tomino Cheese and Black Figs

Paired with Rose' metodo classico Nebbiolo, San Maurizio 2005, it has a nose of ripe fruit, cherries, spices and custard. Very special sparkling with a very sharp and lingering palatte.

As you can imagine, the wonderfully aged Iberico ham. The sweet figs are a good replacement to the usual rock melon that is served and the uncommon tomino cheese that gives that little nudge to the tastes. A mellow marriage of flavours is further enhanced by the off dry white wine, yet letting it linger on the tongue long after the morsel had been devoured. Mysterious and yet very intriguing. (8/10)

Seared Red Prawn with Red Onion, Tomato Salad and Brandy Sauce

Paired with Terre Alte, Livio Felluga 2011. Sweet red prawn from Spain. The meat is delicate and sweet. So fresh that we could literally taste the sea! The tomato salad provides the crunch and refreshing contrast to the dish. The broth is made from a reduction from the prawn head, brandy and tomato.

The balanced blend of Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon grapes gave a extremely intense mix of fruit and flower aroma. Rather unique structure and it could probably be even stronger with a little more aging. The pairing contrasted the broth and our only complain? Give us more of the heavenly broth!!! (9.5/10)

Seared Foie Gras with Yellow Peach, Amaretti Crumble, Pumpkin Sauce and Vin Santo Ice Cream

Paired with Gew├╝rztraminer Kastelaz, Elena Walch 2013. This is made for foie gras lovers. Peach, we never had peach with foie gras, and we found it a much better than having it with apples. The peach lends a deep flavour while providing the sweetness to complement the fatty liver. Crumble adds a crunch and the pumpkin just brings everything together. The gewurzt cuts through the oil and cleanses the palate, lending a fruity finish that is like a secret admirer to the peach. (9/10)

Squid Ink Tonnarelli with Bamboo Clams and Bottarga

Paired with Cervaro Della Sala IGT, Antinori 2010.  We always have a love for freshly made pasta. The tonnarelli slightly overcooked but we thought it was a good contrast to the fresh crunchy clams. Doused with loads of garlic (yeah!) it reminded us of a classic zi char dish (in a good way). The wine's white flowers nose was of a great contrast to the strong garlic dish. The minerality could have been stronger to match the dish as we were expecting the intense flavours that it could have lent to the otherwise well executed dish. (8/10)

Fresh Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Paired with L'Eterno, Feudi del Pisciotto 2011. Ok, we weren't expecting truffles at this time of the year. Summer truffles to say the least. And maybe because of that our expectations were slightly elevated already. Well cooked in terms of flavours and fresh porcini can never go wrong, we would have preferred it to be offering a better bite. While the risotto pales in the menu, we have to give special mention to the Pinot Nero.

This vintage of L'Eterno has a really brilliant ruby red color. The nose was intensely clean and pleasing. Hints of cherry, plum and raspberry, cocoa and tobacco amalgated to a tannic balance. A very good body with that searing finish of cherry and plum. It has to be one of the best Italian wines we EVER had. Rich, complex and very endearing. (6/10 for food, 10/10 for the wine)

Lamb Loin with Artichoke and Potato Pave

Paired with Rosso di Montalcino, Poggio di Sotto, 2007. This is our favourite dish of the day. We haven't had lamb loin cooked so excellently for a long time. The last one that we raved about for weeks, was our dining experience in Perth. Well cooked, pink in the middle, very tender and the freshness of Spring seems to be released with every bite that we take. The pistachio crust, slightly salted gives that friendly oomph. Simply superb and we would just go back for this dish. (10/10)

And we think that the wines couldn't get better. The wine pairing was crazy good.  The Sangiovese wine strikes a chord with those who love the more full bodied and medium to strong tannins. A light, fresh, elegant yet powerful 100% Sangiovese brings out the best in any red meat especially lamb so well cooked.

This luscious, complex nose, delivering impressive depth of fruit as well as a long, polished finish. Was an excellent company to the lamb. A perfect marriage! (10/10 for both!)

Grade A4 Toriyama Wagyu Beef with Cauliflower Puree and Port Juice

Paired with Barbaresco DOCG Rabaja, Giuseppe Cortese 2011. Anything after the lamb would be a tough act to follow. And perhaps that is why wagyu is served now. Both the white and green asparagus are cooked and seasoned perfectly. And yes, you can't go too wrong with wagyu and this dish is nicely done.  The wine has pleasant notes of wild strawberry and mint coupled with a clear and sharp minerality and significant tannins. The deep red ends with a long and persistent finish, probably suitable for such a good red meat. (8/10)

Cheese Platter

Paired with Amarone della Valpolicella Mazzano, Masi, 2003. Five different cheeses with home-made jams and the legendary gold medal balsamic. All 5 cheeses were well paired with their respective jams and while not being a total cheese person, we were bowled over. The end of the dish was with a dash of the 25 year old Gold Balsamico. Every, drop was precious.

And how do you pair a wine for 5 distinctively different cheeses? Gabriele got it absolutely right again without sacrificing any of them. This Amarone has an enormous richness and striking intensity, with a strong nose  of leather, tobacco and dark chocolate. Rich and super velvety. Perfectly balanced pairing and we were bawled. (8/10)

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

Paired with Moscato Rosa, Franz Haas, 2010. The dessert was an absolute delight! Olive oil ice cream is creamy and slightly nutty from the olive oil. Done right in the kitchen, Chef Denis took a chance and got everything right. So many things could have gone wrong with this seemingly simple but totally testing dish. The chocolate soil was done nicely with the right level of sweetness and crumbles, the berries gave the acidity, the white chocolate added to the balance and the greens were just explosions of earth in the mouth. What can we say, the ice cream totally rounds up the experience. (9.5/10)

And.... this is not all. A red moscato. Need we say more? Strong roses from Trentini 100% Moscato Rossa, bright ruby red with a touch of orange peel. On the palate you will be charmed with the complexity of this dessert wine, indeed a fascinating mix between acidity, sweetness and tannins. A perfect ending to the Good Earth meal!

Of course, the evening only ended with Italian coffee and petit fours and even a nice portion of limoncello.

Buono Terra also has some wines exclusively carried by them and some wines which are only brought in by Gabriel.  The wine list can be found at the this link.

A great overall dining experience and this has to be our favourite Italian restaurant for now. With the quality, premium ingredients used, and the quality of wine, it is very reasonably priced. A great place for hosting guests (private room available), a romantic dinner or a celebration for the special occasion. This is where you want to be.

The challenge with working with premium ingredients is that there is a certain expectation and we think Chef Denis nailed it down right on the spot. The excellent wine pairing by Gabriele enhances the dining experience and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Buona Terra
(Private Parking available, Valet services available)
29 Scotts Road

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