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Terranostra Cucina Italiana - an authentic taste of Sardinia

Terranostra Cucina Italiana
27 Old Bailey
London EC4

Tel: 020 3201 0077

A stone’s throw from the Old Bailey lies Terranostra Cucina Italiana, an authentic taste of Sardinia in a setting as far removed from that island as one can imagine. The interior is unpretentious with simple décor, deep polished wood tables and chairs and modern art on the walls. When we visited, it was packed with the suited-and-booted brigade taking a very long lunch. There was also an extremely large party made up totally of Italians, which had to be an encouraging sign. The dining room is cozy; my only grumble being the tables were a little on the small side. The ambience is warm and lively, so not somewhere to come for an intimate chat a deux - more a place to enjoy with a few mates while joining in the general merriment. However in the evening I suspect the atmosphere would be more laid back and quiet.

To begin, a large basket of tempting breads was offered, including the Sardinian speciality - Carta di musica - a form of exceptionally large and crunchy and crispbread. The menu has plenty to entice. We shared a stunning fish platter for two to start (talleri di pesce) which included calamari, raw tuna with caramelised onions and balsamic vinegar, punchy marinated anchovies, cured swordfish and smoky infused salmon. This was a pleasure to eat; served artistically on an oaked marbled platter Every bite was sensational, with each pungent flavour holding its own on the palate.

To follow, again there was plenty to tempt. I tried the linguini, served with plenty of fresh crab and a touch of chilli which added a bit of a welcome kick. The escalope of veal was cooked perfectly, being full of flavour with a pepper and lemony bite. It arrived seared and glistening with an appetising aroma and was served with perfect sautéed potatoes and spinach. There are plenty of well priced Sardinian and Italian wines to choose from. We tried a rich and oaky Sardinian Grotta Rosa 2005, very reasonably priced at £20 a bottle.

For pudding there was a short but tempting choice of Italian favourites. We shared a warm chocolate and almond cake which arrived in small diamond slices on a glass plate accompanied by fresh raspberries and vanilla ice cream. Other desserts included tiramisu and panna cotta.

Terranostra Cucina Italiana is very popular and it’s easy to see why. It provides unpretentious but seriously good cooking using quality ingredients, served up with genuine hospitality. And its reasonable prices makes it stand out from the crowd in an area with little else to entice.

Louise Elgin. January 2008.

A meal for two with wine and water is around £80.00.


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