Da Terra

Brazilian, Modern European·
££££
·
Gold Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Da Terra

Gold Award

The Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green has a glittering history when it comes to restaurants. It was previously home to Nuno Mendes’ Michelin-starred Viajante and Lee Westcott’s Typing Room. The dining room’s latest – and likewise Michelin-starred –  incarnation is the brainchild of Brazilian chef Rafael Cagali, who was previously at Simon Rogan’s Aulis.

With such an all-round impressive pedigree comes high expectations, but Da Terra isn’t as high-falutin’ as you might expect. So while it is undoubtedly fine dining, there are flashes of playfulness, too, on a tasting menu that runs from 9 to 11 courses. Witness the scallop tartare topped with a sorbet-like dusting of apple marigold, served on a bed of pebbles that secrete a Lego diver figurine and a Lego shark.

Lego makes another appearance with the arrival of the bread. Heavenly-tasting butter, shaped to look like Lego bricks, is served alongside a large sourdough roll branded with tribal-style markings and a barbecued bone marrow which comes with its own miniature spoon for scooping out its soft innards.

Elsewhere, salty goats’ cheese tart topped with a sweet glaze of caramelised guava acts as an exemplary transitional course between the savoury and sweet, ahead of a rectangle of sorrel ice cream decorated with fresh fruits and flowers foraged, we’re told, from around east London. The final taste of the tasting menu is a surprisingly light petit-four of sugar-dusted doughnuts, puffed up with air and discharging a short but satisfying burst of dulce de leche.

Menus are paired with intriguing wines as well as a beer made from surplus bread, another example of Da Terra’s refreshing approach to high-end dining. Cosy, innovative and disarmingly fun, we’re certain that Da Terra has a bright future ahead.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
Brazilian, Modern European
Ambience
Cool, Cosy, Fine dining, Quiet conversation, Quirky, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100, Two Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Dinner
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
People
Dates, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Da Terra

Bethnal Green Town Hall has housed many great restaurants over the last decade or so - both Viajante and the Typing Room held Michelin stars here in the past, but Da Terra eclipsed them both when it earned a second Michelin star in 2021. Italian chef Rafael Cagali was born in Sao Paolo and worked at The Fat Duck and Aulis before taking on Da Terra as his debut solo restaurant, and he brings his eclectic background and wealth of experience to the menu here.

Da Terra's dining room is remarkably simple, almost spartan by comparison with the plush, white tablecloth vibe in most hotel restaurants. Dark wood chairs surround smooth, circular marble tabletops, and a polished herringbone parquet stretches out underfoot. 

The setting places the food at centre stage, and diners have a choice between seven and ten course tasting menus. Dinner opens with an array of snacks - a cod croquette, a beef taco, a taleggio doughnut - before diving into dishes largely inspired by Cagali's Italian and Brazilian roots, as well as his time in Spain with star chefs Quique Dacosta and Martin Berasategui.

The resulting menu finds some fascinating pairings as a result - arctic charr comes with courgette and tucupi (a sauce made from Brazilian yellow manioc), and there's a custard with mussels, trout roe and sake kasu (the lees produced when making sake, which is often discarded). Wild halibut moqueca (a Brazilian fish stew) comes with palm hearts and farofa - a toasted cassava flour condiment, also from Brazil. It's a menu for the more adventurous, but service is simultaneously friendly and disarming, highlighting the casual fine dining movement that East London does so well.

Both tasting menus are available with or without accompanying drinks pairings.


FAQs

Does Da Terra have a Michelin star?

Da Terra has two Michelin stars.

Helpful? 0

Are children admitted?

Da Terra recommends no children under the age of 8 years old due to the length of the menu.

Helpful? 0

Is there a dress code?

Da Terra advises that you dress in any comfortable clothes you wish.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
Da Terra

Rafael Cagali

Chef Patron

Originally from São Paulo in Brazil and with Italian heritage, Rafael Cagali first moved to London at the age of 21 to pursue a career as a chef. His work then took him to Italy, where he honed his craft under chef Stefano Baiocco at A Villa Feltrinelli, a position he retained for over three years. Next, Cagali headed to Spain where he worked for three Michelin-starred chef Quique Dacosta and Martin Berasategui. He later returned to England to join Heston Blumenthal’s famous restaurant The Fat Duck, before going on to help chef Simon Rogan open Fera at Claridges and Aulis in Soho. In 2019, Cagali opened his debut restaurant Da Terra, which was awarded its first Michelin star later that year and its second in 2021.


Location for Da Terra

8 Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9NF

020 7062 2052

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-14:00
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 18:00-21:30
Thu 18:00-21:30
Fri 18:00-21:30
Sat 18:00-21:30
Sun Closed
Bar
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 15:00-22:00
Thu 15:00-22:00
Fri 15:00-22:00
Sat Closed
Sun 15:00-22:00

Reviews of Da Terra

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2 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

David H

03 June 2019  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4.5
One of the best restaurants in London

This review should have been written early in the year, but for once our first visit here took place before da Terra was on this site.  The food here is really very good, and the service exemplary, but before I get into detail it's necessary I think to point out a few  quirks.  These didn't put us off, and hopefully they won't dissuade you either, but its best to turn up with your expectations attuned to what you're going to get.  

 

They opened with a "soft launch" early in the year .  Frankly the launch was so soft that the place was and still may be close to invisible.  One by product of that is that on both our visits (both at lunch) it was very quiet indeed.  Fortunately the chefs (its an open kitchen ) and the maitre d'  are chatty and its nevertheless a pleasant place to be. We understand that evenings are busier. 

 

There are two menus, both tasting menus, a long and a short.  You won't see them online, and you won't see them at your table either.  You eat what they give you, in the same way as you do at Hedone for example.  Interestingly this doesn't mean that anyone with dietary preferences or allergies gets forgotten- you tell them about these before you arrive and they'll be ready with alternative dishes that comply with your preferences/needs, and every bit as delicious as  the standard menu too. 

 

Finally whatever desription you can find of the food will refer back to Latin American and Italian influences.  The reality is that the top people here have worked in many of Europe's top kitchens and their origins food-wise are rather eclectic.  (very) contemporary European probably is as good a description as any from an eater's perspective.  

 

On both visits, we chose the short tasting menu which has 7 courses plus snacks at the beginning and petits fours at the end.  They also served an extra course of a delicious risotto that they're considering for the menu ( they're quite experimental).  Of the "courses" five were the same as on our first visit in February, and two were new to us .   So you get to taste ten small dishes in all.  Thats enough to satisfy us and both times we've left pleasantly replete but by no means stuffed.  The thing I have to get across is that each one of those dishes is carefully conceived, perfectly executed and beautifully assembled and presented.  This is food of the highest calibre, and I for one have never been to a restaurant where the food served here wouldn't be good enough.  The service is perfectly paced , friendly, pleasant and explanatory.  You get a menu at the end, by way of a souvenir.  

 

Our meals, with coffee , a few glasses of wine each and service worked out at £around £110 a head.  Certainly not cheap, but I'd suggest that for the variety and quality of the food we ate, it was good value.  They deserve to do really well.

 

Lloyd S

07 May 2019  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Amazing Tasting Menu Lunch

This was our first visit to Da Terra but not our first time at this venue. We'd dined here at the Town Hall Hotel before when it was the Typing Room. Since then the restaurant and the bar has undergone a makeover turning it into a fantastic restaurant serving Latin American cuisine with an Italian influence. We arrived early on Saturday to enjoy a pre lunch drink in the bar. The bar which I remembered as being quite dark is now nice and bright and not only serves cocktails like before but also beer , wine and bar snacks. It was quiet so we sat up the bar which is quite nice as we could have a chat to the barman who I have to say was very friendly and a pleasure to talk to. After a discussion about what our favourite cocktails and spirits were we decided to order a Monkey 47 Gin & Tonic & a Negroni which I have to say was one of the best I've tasted. The barman asked us our plans for the afternoon and once we said we were dining in the restaurant he immediately went across to notify them that we'd arrived & were in the bar. A short time after that Head Chef Rafael Cagalli came over to say hello and have a quick chat before heading back to the restaurant only to reappear a few minutes later with a complimentary snack from the bar menu for us to enjoy. These were fabulous Cod Croquettes with Burnt Chive Mayo. As he headed back into the restaurant he told us to take our time and enjoy our drinks and come through when we were ready. This really gave you a great feeling of wanting to dine here. 

Once we'd finished our drinks & snacks we thanked the barman and headed into the restaurant where we were given another delightful welcome before being shown to our table. While seated we then had a quick look around to see that there seemed to be more floor space which was probably due to the majority of the tables were now round. The walls were now a light grey colour broken up with some nice artwork with the open kitchen remaining at the head of the restaurant. We were then shown the menus which are both Suprise Tasting Menus. One being a short six course and the other being the long eleven course. We both decided to go for the eleven course. With this I also decided to go with the eight glass matching wines which I must also say was great value for money. My wife on the other had wanted to have three glasses of wine to take her through the menu and the sommelier who's wine selections were excellent was more than happy to oblige.

Now it was time for our first course and a truly fabulous way to start with a Mackerel , Beetroot & Creme Fraiche. This was followed by the Scallop , Fennel & Apple where they also served the coral in a crispy stone shaped shell. 

We then enjoyed a fabulous Chicken course before moving on to enjoy some amazing Bread with Bone Marrow & Butter. This was followed by a fantastic Risotto with Hen of the Woods & Wild Garlic. 

Our next course was a delightful Cod , Hispi Cabbage & Buerre Blanc which was accompanied by a Crispy Potato with Foie Gras filling and grated Truffle. It was then time for the main course which was a stunning Short Rib of Beef with Artichoke & Chard. 

We then moved on to the Cheese course which certainly was different. It was a Goats Cheese Flan with a Sweet Potato Gel. This was a flavour combination that really did work and was accompanied with Fennel & Wholegrain crackers. 

It was now time for our pre dessert and an interesting choice of flavours it was to Rum Ice Cream , Avocado & Caviar and to be honest it was delicious. I would say though that to call it a palate cleanser it does need to be paired with the sommeliers matched wine a Moscato d'Asti which cut through the creamy texture of the dish. Now on to the main dessert a fabulous and another interesting flavour combination a Jerusalem Artichoke with White Chocolate Ice Cream. 

We finished with Coffee & Petit Fours which brought to an end a truly memorable dining experience. The food with some amazing flavour combinations was fantastic and matched by excellent wine pairings. It was a pleasure talking to Rafael & the Sous Chef as well as Manager Antonio. I also have to commend our waiters who's service was first class. I will certainly look forward to a return in the not to distant future and would highly recommend putting this restaurant near the top on your dining list.

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