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Enjoy luxury dining without all the faff

10 October, 2019 — By Tom Moggach

Pasta is a speciality at Terra Terra

TERRA Terra is full of surprises: this swish Italian feels like a place in Mayfair but just opened on the Finchley Road.

Step inside, off the A41, and this all-day restaurant and café has a luxurious, high-end feel.

Cash has been splashed on the branding, designer décor and gleaming kitchens. There’s a profusion of house plants and serving staff; a high-tech clay oven flickers in the window.

Navigate to the basement and you’ll also find their Wine Room and cocktail bar, serving fine vino, bellinis and espresso martinis.

Pasta is a speciality here and – gosh – it’s glorious. The head chef, Massimo Mioli, is a pasta fanatic; his wife runs a wholesale pasta business supplying top restaurants. His short selection ranges from the classics to the unusual, such as a terrific casarecce (pasta twists from Sicily) with a slow-cooked lamb ragu and breadcrumbs to add both crunch and a creamy texture.

The chef and I spent a happy five minutes discussing the two grades of breadcrumbs he prepares for the dish and the precise timings to add them.

The arrival of Terra Terra on Finchley Road made more sense once I discovered that the backers include a hospitality company that opens bars and restaurants around the world. Terra Terra is a fresh new concept they hope to roll-out more widely.

The cooking is impressive. Small plates star an elegant assembly of raw slices of tuna, barely cooked in citrus juice, decorated with fronds of pickled samphire and flashes of red and green chilli.

There are plump anchovies draped on roasted peppers, mini arancini, a wobbly burrata and range of crisp, nicely blistered flatbreads or pizzette. Mine was topped with fennel sausage, roasted peppers and a drizzle of chilli oil.

For pudding, a panna cotta was set just right – with a delicate wobble – topped with berries and crumbled amaretti.

Their cannolo was not at all soggy, piped with two types of ricotta and whipped with chocolate.

I did wonder about the soundtrack, however. When I arrived, the music was deep house turned up loud. I’m not sure that their more mature guests – presumably inquisitive locals – expected that as part of their evening vibe.

Service is bound to get faster and more organised as the team settle into their groove.

Terra Terra is located right opposite Finchley Road station and opens early to catch the rush hour crowd.

Grab a pastry and coffee or sit down for a breakfast menu that includes a chia pot with superfruits and coconut or nduja scrambled eggs with basil and lemon.

Thankfully, the prices here are more sensible than the décor might suggest. Mini pizzas costs around £8; large main course pastas £10-£14.

This new opening is a bonus for anyone who lives near Finchley Road – an all-day, West End dining experience without all the faff and travel.

Terra Terra
120 Finchley Road, NW3
020 8912 6320
Instagram: @terraterrauk


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