Da Terra – Michelin Dining with a Playful Twist

Set within the imposing Bethnal Green Town Hall, Da Terra is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in the UK. There must be something in the water because it’s not the first time this particular venue has been home to superstar restaurants. Previous occupants included Nuno Mendes’ Michelin-starred Viajante and Lee Westcott’s Typing Room. Needless to say, Da Terra had big shoes to fill.

And boy, did they fill them. When Brazilian chef Rafael Cagali – whose background includes Aulis, Fera and The Fat Duck – opened Da Terra in January of 2019, it took a mere eight months to gain its first Michelin star. Not resting on their laurels and after a tough 2020 for the hospitality industry, a second star was awarded in 2021.

The accolades since have not stopped. In fact, Da Terra has just walked away with 7th place in the 2024 National Restaurant Awards, and Head Sommelier Maria Boumpa number 21 in the Top 100 Sommeliers Awards.

With monumental achievements such as these it would be easy to imagine a fussy, formal affair. The type of place where there is classical music playing in the background while waiters tiptoe nervously around a volatile chef. This could not be further from the truth. 

For starters there wasn’t a classical pianist in sight. Quite the contrary. The music included Stevie Nicks and Roxette, setting a comfortably informal scene. Glimpses of light-heartedness also carried on into the evening; a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurine perched on the side of the chefs’ workspace (a reference to Rafael’s childhood nickname) and wonderfully witty servers.

Don’t expect an extensive a la carte menu. However, do expect an exquisitely crafted nine-course tasting menu with optional wine pairing. The flavours of the different dishes were quite simply mind blowing. Each dish so creative, so unique and oh-so-stunningly presented. They included plates like Langoustine with White Asparagus and Tomato Vodka, Sourdough with Bone Marrow and a fresh take on the traditional Brazilian Moqueca. 

The final savoury course, Huntsham Farm Middle White Pork, was a highlight. Yes, partly because it was beautifully cooked and utterly delicious, but also because it was paired with possibly the best red I have ever tasted, a bottle of Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Alexander Valley 2020. 

The night ended with Baba – a gorgeous sponge cake served with Cachaça, another Brazilian favourite and topped with N25 Reserve Caviar – and a refreshingly light Pineapple dessert with Fermented Pineapple Juice and Verbena. 

By the end of the evening, we had swapped hilarious anecdotes with most of the serving staff, as well as the brilliantly talented MVP, Head Chef Rafael. The evening’s faultless cuisine, impeccable service and truly magical atmosphere made this one of the best restaurants I have ever had the pleasure to visit. 

Michelin dining without the stiff upper lip, Da Terra is not only Bethnal Green’s pride and joy, but a jewel in London’s culinary crown.



8 Patriot Square, London E2 9NF