I was meeting Al for lunch. We hadn’t decided where to eat until the very last minute, about an hour before heading out, he texted, “Buona Terra At 29 Scotts Road”.
Buona Terra is housed in one of those B&W Bungalows which are conserved in Singapore. The ambience spelled intimacy and exclusivity – great place for silk stockings and dynamic business luncheons! That said, the price was not. In my humble opinion, at $38 per person for a 3-course set lunch, it was definitely value-for money!
That afternoon, we had a very delicious 3-course set meals (Stella Menu) at S$88 per pax that was customised by choosing items from the “Constellation of The Stars” under the seasonal “Ala Carte Selections Menu”. You get to pick an item each from the “ANTIPASTI”, “LA PASTA E IL RISOTTO” or “I SECONDI”, and the “I DESSERT” sections. We didn’t want any dessert and were “allowed” to pick our choice of one appetiser and two mains, instead. Yes, you can have two items from one section if you like. Most restaurants would require you to order dessert as part of your course in set meals. I love the flexibility Buona Terra offers!
Buona Terra is helmed by Chef Denis Lucchi who hails from the small town of Brescia, a city in the region of Lombardy. I hear he makes the pasta from scratch daily and pasta, of course, is one of their signature dishes!
The humid mundane afternoon turned out perfetto! I love everything at Buona Terra. The ambience, the food, the price and the wonderful service!
Chief Sommelier Grabriele asked if the chosen White was fine by me. I told him I know nuts about wine. He smiled charmingly and said, “When someone says that, they know something.” Ya, I only know how to drink, lol…
Grabriele shared that Franz Haas Manna Bianco (Vigneti delle Dolomiti) comes from Northeast Italy. It is an oak-aged blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Traminer that opens with a deep, soft bouquet of smokey minerals and vanilla, stone fruit i.e. apricot, and golden apple, and hazelnut. It has a smooth, rich texture with a hint of honey. This wine can develop more complexity over the next few years.
For me, this gorgeous wine paired exquisitely well with the scallop and pork jaw I had for lunch. Although it was leaning towards the sweet side, it had crisp acidity and finish which I enjoyed.
I don’t really fancy scallop sashimi (even from a fine Japanese restaurant) so I was a little skeptical about ordering the Scallop Tartare in an Italian outlet but the Tomato Essence intrigued me enough to try. According to Grabriele, whom we had the pleasure for taking care of our food order besides wine, the house-made tomato essence was extracted from Italian tomato, basil and olive oil, allowing them to drip and collected overnight. It was an excellent choice. The scallops had fresh-from-the-sea sweetness and the tomato-basil-infused “essential oil” which was drizzled moderately onto the scallops had bright flavours. The caviar paired well with its savoury zest. This starter was simply brilliant!
Judging from the fine marbling of the beef, I had already guessed it had to be wagyu. Some of the finest I had tried were from Japanese eateries, usually with some minced ginger and chopped scallions appropriately doused with shoyu. This no sauce version was quite different but the garnishing was very appealing to the visuals. The apple chunks and walnuts provided crunchy texture to the otherwise routined melt-in-the-mouth protein. But the “icing on this cake” to me was the slivers of Vacche Rosse or simply the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano, which I tell my children, are the Rolls Royce of parmesan! By the way, Gabriele came from Parma.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the most ancient and rich cheese ever known. It is produced nowadays substantially as eight centuries ago: same ingredients, same production process, same handcrafted care. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a cheese totally natural, known in the world as “King of cheeses” for its particular productive, nutritional and organoleptic characteristics.
The milk of Red Cows of Reggiana’s breed has some qualitative characteristics that differ from the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano. The Red Cow produces a third less of milk than the Holstein breed, but it has a higher performance in the cheese-making process. In particular in the Red Cows milk there is a variation of the casein, the essential protein in the process of transforming the milk in cheese, that guarantees a better aptitude for the cheese to a long ageing, with a consequent better digestibility. For that reason the production regulations of Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano provide that the product can be sold only after at least 24 months of ageing, compared to the 12 months of the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano. The result is a cheese that, despite the long ageing, has a sweet, delicate and persistent taste. Moreover, also the organoleptic features are different. Characteristic is the straw yellow colour, the elasticity of the grain, the strong but delicate aroma even after 30 months of ageing.
The production of the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano is regulated by the strict guideline of the Safeguarding Consortium for the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, registered at the European Community, as Parmigiano-Reggiano is a Protected Designation of Origin cheese (PDO), that is a product that, thanks to its distinctive characteristics and to its link with the place of origin, benefits of a system of rules granted by EC for the consumer and producer protection. In addition to that the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano follows a further specific production guideline (called “Regulation to produce Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano”) written by the Reggiana’s Breed Breeder’s National Association, the only control organisation that is entitled to certify the link between the breed and the cheese. That Regulation provides only grass, hay and certified no GMO feed, it is strictly prohibited to use any method to force the production, high attention to the animal well-being. – Info credit (and further details click on the link): consorziovaccherosse
Tonnarelli with *Uni and Bottarga – The Tonnarelli had a good bite which I liked but I found the Uni (slightly warmed, I prefer raw and cold sea urchin) to be a little too gooey. Together with Bottarga, which is a Mediterranean delicacy of salted, cured fish roe, typically from grey mullet or Atlantic tuna, I found the dish loaded.
Casoncelli are kind of stuffed pasta, typical of the culinary tradition of Lombardy, in the north-central part of Italy. The shell typically consists of two sheets of pasta, about 4 cm long, pressed together at the edges, like that of ravioli.
Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavor is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang. – Wikipedia
Well, Wikipedia has described The Casoncelli al Taleggio e Tartufo Nero I had so you can more or less imagine the general taste of my meal. Polenta was also added to render a velvety mushy filling. Seasonal Black Truffles – Buona Terra brought in Winter Black Truffles, since the best time to eat them is from December to March, but boy am I lucky as Winter Truffles reach their pinnacle of fragrance and flavour in January and February. Although I said the truffles has reached their peak, their aroma is still subtle (not in-your-face type of pungency). These thin wafers tasted divine, a blend of chocolate and earth!
When choosing our next mains, Gabriele recommended the Sous Vide Lamb which was slow-cooked. I confided that I have become “sensitive” to gamey meats and proceeded to order the Secreto Iberico, which he nodded approvingly. Fluent with every chew, nothing stringy, you would not have known it was pork! The caramelised apple sauce was different from the pale ones I had and they weren’t too sweet, either. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the succulent pork on its own without any sauce.
Iberico Pig, also known as a “black-footed pig”, is a breed that is raised almost exclusively in Spain. Secreto is a fan-shaped piece of muscle meat fetched from the top front of the pork belly. It is hidden in belly fat and thus difficult to locate. Secreto holds streaks of luscious fat marbling throughout and that makes it ideal for accelerated, high-heat methods of cooking preparations.
The Agnello e Carciofi looked seductively juicy and I couldn’t resist sampling. I was right! I was not ready to eat lamb. I can eat overcooked pan-fried lamb cutlets and heavily spiced mutton biryani but definitely not the highbrow pink. From just a tiny piece that my friend offered, I could taste the iron-richness of blood! It was wildly gamey for me and I felt like I had just sucked on a coin. Alas, this is not to be an acquired taste for me because I used to love lamb. I have become precarious of certain meats – sign of ageing perhaps, haiz… But I shall not speak for all the “old” folks because my friend enjoyed his grub thoroughly.
This was absolutely one of the best dining experience I’ve had and I can’t wait for their wine pairing dinner events to appear!
Buona Terra Italian Restaurant
(part of Chateau TCC Group of F&B)
Address: 29 Scotts Road,
Tel: (+65) 67330209
Opening hours: (Closed on Sundays)
Mondays – Saturday
Lunch: 12nn – 2.30pm (excluding Sat and Public Holidays)
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Happy eating and bonding