Terrone Restaurant Review

Terrone Restaurant Review

Chef Patron: Adrian Hili

Nestled within the historical ambiance of Birgu, Terrone sets the stage for an exquisite dining experience. With the gentle caress of the Birgu breeze and the protective embrace of the bastions, Chef Patron Adrian Hili’s culinary creations at Terrone transport you to a realm of culinary delights.

There’s absolutely no time wasted on your visit to Terrone, an amuse bouche hits the table in a matter of minutes; curbing that slight hunger with a touch of excellence.

Hello, Prawn and Zucchini Pizza! As the first bite touches your palate, refreshing notes of mint tantalize your taste buds. The pronounced kick of Pecorino cheese adds a delightful dimension to the pizza; where the zucchini, fresh and sweet, harmonizes beautifully with the light and salted pizza dough. The charred prawn and mint combination is a simple stroke of genius, infusing the dish with a delectable creaminess and subtle smokiness while carrying a fresh and dainty overtone.

This meal was enjoyed wine-free; by choice; unfortunately also by necessity, and perhaps an interesting way to enjoy clean flavours and pure kitchen artistry; unaltered by the pull of tannins or the bubbles of a glass of sparkling wine; this meal was purely focused on the food; which is what I live for. Chef Hili, I understand your palate, I enjoy your palate and I will be back for another Terrone experience. 

Following the bold amuse bouche, we were met with a simple yet highly effective opening to the Chef’s Tasting Menu that Patron Adrian Hili prepared for us himself. The Freshly Shucked Gillardeau Oyster and Royal Belgian Caviar exhibit a distinct character, with their mineral undertones – complemented by a perfect balance of saltiness and sweetness. The addition of caviar introduces an intriguing ironness, creating a symphony of flavours on the palate. That one-gulp swig of the sea always happily sets the tone for me; quite honestly no matter what’s to follow; especially if it’s more oysters. 

But this meal was about showcasing the essence of Terrone; heading to the next course with an Asparagus dish that showcased a masterful play of contrasting aromas. The astringent notes of asparagus intertwine with hints of sweetness and saltiness. Parmesan cheese adds a delightful nuttiness, while the light and robust butter enhances the dish’s depth. A subtle anchovy note in the butter introduces a further layer of nuttiness, contributing to the overall complexity. It’s a delicate and exquisite introduction to the tasting menu.

The Crudo dish presents a clean and fresh culinary experience, with a deep marine salinity. The smooth and rich crème fraîche artfully masks any overpowering fishiness from the caviar, creating a harmonious balance of flavours. Crème fraîche, you say… what an odd ingredient to pair with fish; raw fish at that… but it works. Wow, does it work! The don’ts of ‘traditional’ or ‘classic’ cuisine; no-fish-and-cheese-rule really don’t hold anymore; if you consider crème fraîche a member of the ‘cheese’ family; or would it be equally ‘acceptable’ if we thought of it as ‘dairy’; classic Moules Marinière loves double cream. My opinion… experiment, try it out; it might be delicious. 

The Pan Seared Calf’s Liver dish showcases a myriad of textures and flavours – probably my favourite dish of the night. The slight char on the outside of the liver imparts a robust and well-rounded flavour while the interior is grainy, smooth, and wonderfully creamy, melting in your mouth with each bite. The San Daniele ham adds a delightful saltiness and touch of luxury, while the peas and broad beans contribute sweetness and textural contrast. The Grana cheese lends its mellowing presence, tying the elements together with familiarity.

The Grilled Calamari dish is a symphony of vibrant flavours that are true to Malta but totally out-there in character development. The perfectly grilled calamari showcases a tender and succulent texture, enhanced by the vibrant touch of coriander. The pasta bursts with flavour, perfectly seasoned with an ideal balance of salt, fragrant oil, and hints of spice and citrus zest. Each bite reveals pockets of juicy tomatoes, infusing the dish with tang and freshness. The tentacles are a true delight, offering a supremely delicious experience.

There’s quite a bit more to come, so pace yourselves, you’re in for a culinary experience of wonders. The Seafood Risotto, featuring scallops and local lobster, presents a delightful harmony of sweet and succulent flavours. The addition of monkfish adds a vibrant texture, the bisque truly made with love and passion. The rice retains a perfect texture, providing a satisfying contrast to the tender seafood. The subtle presence of basil adds a welcomed herbaceous note, elevating the dish further.

The Ravioli dish impresses with its delicate balance of flavours. The soft herb filling is simply delicious, while the smooth Grana cheese lends its velvety touch. The thin and supple pasta sheets are coated in a heavenly butter and oil sauce, providing a perfect textural contrast. Each bite offers a clean and fresh taste sensation.

When it comes to the Fish, you are treated to a masterpiece of culinary expertise. The skin boasts a delightful crispiness, while the flaky flesh is cooked to absolute perfection. The fish exhibits a wonderful browned exterior, accentuating its natural flavours. The accompanying peas add a touch of sweetness, and the overall combination evokes the essence of the sea. There’s one last savoury component in this exquisite tasting menu, so take a breather, maybe walk along the luscious waterside and peer up at the bastions towering above you – take it all in.

For meat lovers, the night is far from over, the Rangers Valley Australian Black Angus Beef Sirloin dish is a revelation. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, with a slight leaning towards rare, the meat unveils its tender and succulent character. Crispy fried potatoes provide a satisfying textural contrast, while the spinach acts as a refreshing palate cleanser. The mustard brings an intriguing twist, if you’re in need of a good cut of meat, this is a good place to stop; even though Terrone is way more angled towards fish; it’s always nice when the Terra aspect of a menu is respected in Mare restaurant.

Now this is my kind of pre-dessert; a selection of Formaggi taking the overall experience. To a whole new level with perfectly room-temperature Basajo, Pecorino Toscano and Morbier – taking you from Veneto to France with cheese as the only attraction. 

To conclude this culinary journey, the Terrone Cannolo awaits. The ice cream offers a delightful burst of flavours, reminiscent of the gelato of yesteryears, evoking fond memories of summers with Nanna where ricotta and pistachios were a common staple in her kitchen’s desserts. 

Terrone presents an enchanting dining experience, where each dish is meticulously crafted to deliver an exceptional blend of flavours, textures, and artistry. The attention to detail and the masterful execution of Chef Patron Adrian Hili’s menu are evident in every bite. Combined with the picturesque setting and the warm Birgu ambiance, a visit to Terrone is a gastronomic adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.

Review written by

Kristina Cassar Dowling

HORECA Reviews are based on the experience of the diners on their particular visit. The nature of these reviews is based on the publication’s expertise in the industry, but also highlights the reviewer’s opinions and preferences. The aim of HORECA Reviews is to showcase culinary talent, to give the hospitality industry insight on their patron’s experience and areas for improvement as well as to celebrate the strive for excellence within the sector.


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