Pugliese restaurant Terra Rossa has opened on Upper Street in Islington, replacing Spanish tapas bar Thyme and Lemon.
Francois Fracella, former general manager at Farringdon’s Apulia, writes that “My Father was one of the last men to plough Puglia’s rich red earth with a horse. Out of that first memory of his hands in the iron rich soil grew the seed of Terra Rossa.” Fracella says that the restaurant is rooted in cucina povera, an Italian cuisine borne out of scarcity and necessity in poverty and famine; the absence of reliable, or accessible supply chains. Here, Fracella’s supply chains will provide octopus to be grilled with chickpea purée; grains to be burned for grano d’arso pasta, whose Puglian roots are in the hungry harvesting scorched grains meant to renew fields for a fresh crop; and heritage tomatoes, cured meats, burrata, and mozzarella, for pizza.
Terra Rossa opens on the site of Thyme and Lemon, in a deal brokered by Restaurant Property; it is the latest in a series of tit-for-tat openings and closures on a street whose winning formula proves elusive for many operators. A slew of restaurants closed in the first six months of 2018, with further closings and adoptions of failed sites continuing throughout the year. Fracella will hope that his Pugliese approach will curry favour with local residents.