IL BUCO: MICHELIN STARRED DINING IN SORRENTO
Down a cobblestoned walkway, in the heart of the coastal town of Sorrento, lies the beautifully positioned, Michelin Starred il Buco.
Sorrento was the last stop on our Italian anniversary escape this year and we wanted to commemorate the end of an epic trip with a special meal at il Buco. The chef at our hotel, (read all about our stay at The Bellevue Syrene, Sorrento) first recommended it to me months before our stay and suggested it would be a good idea to make a reservation well in advance. I snapped up his advice straight away and had us booked in and boy did I make the right decision! Let me show you why this quirky, delicious, Michelin starred find is one not to be missed if you’re in Sorrento.
Head chef and owner Peppe Aversa runs a tight but relaxed ship at il Buco. His mere presence as he meanders through the diners, over seeing what is happening at the restaurant level as well as supervising the culinary delights being whipped up to perfection in the kitchen; just shows the passion Peppe has for his craft. Il Buco has retained its star since 2004 under Peppes’ supervision. Peppe, I have to admit has the fine art of taking local ingredients from Campagnia and combining them with classic as well as creative and inventive techniques to produce truly sublime dishes to showcase the diversity of local ingredients.
Il Buco is situated down a cobble stoned alleyway off the main square in Sorrento. I would call it more of a walkway accessed by two openings or even a covered through fare.
The options are that you will either be seated outside along the stoned wall booths or in the restaurant itself. We sat out side in the early October warm air it was a perfect and simultaneously unusual setting for a restaurant of this calibre but this was a welcomed twist to traditional Michel starred dining.
The décor outside was also pretty casual with the bright ceramic colours seen in this part of the coastal town, bright colours, marine ceramic cutlery holders and covered rattan chairs.
THE DINING EXPERIENCE
We kicked the evening off with an aperitif named the Buco Sling, containing a mixture of two strong players, Gin and the local Limoncello, this was quite the refreshing beverage.
As we sipped on the Buco sling, we were presented with an array of breads and bread sticks to accompany some olive oil.
With our starters and mains picked and a glass of chilled Poizzo, a crisp white poured for me and a red Torsus wine from Sicily for Dr C. Just as a side note, il Buco has an impressive list of approximately 1000 wines to choose from its wine cellar, we went with the sommeliers expert advice!
Our pre-starter arrived; this was a land meatball on a pear purée. I gave this one a miss as I’m a pescatarian.
To start I ordered the buffalo mozzarella on a tile of oregano bread with a composition of tomatoes and vegetables; peppers, artichokes and onions drizzled in olive oil. A fresh, light and simple dish just as I had imagined.
Dr C opted for the composition of octopus with potato rolls, takoyaki and spinach pesto. It came beautifully presented on a piece of slate and I am informed it was fresh and perfectly cooked.
Moving onto the mains, you probably guessed I would go for the fish option, which was a local white fish of the day with courgettes, purple potato lemon jelly and ‘fior di latte’ cheese sauce. It goes without saying the fish was cooked to perfection and flaked off the fork as desired.
Dr C was a little more adventurous and took our waiters recommendation of trying Il Buco’s Laticauda lamb interpretation. A dish that I’m told was rich and full of flavour.
Following mains, we were handed the sweet menus and whilst we pondered and made room in our special dessert stomach for a sweet ending, a cute little bowl containing a pre-dessert arrived. A Nutella cream with chocolate chips and foam. I think I just died and went to heaven. Isn’t everyone’s dream dessert all about Nutella?!
Anyway with that wolfed down in seconds, we picked our desserts: A creamy lemon dessert with a limoncello froth on a crumb bed. This is most definitely a light, slightly boozy sweet treat for the lemon fans amongst us, hence why I got on so well with it!!
Dr C had the parfait of three chocolates with a hazelnut crumble and mint sauce. Out of the two desserts this was the prettiest, presented like a beautifully thought out piece of art that would be well placed in a gallery.
We ended our meal with coffees and petits fours before a five minute stroll back to our hotel.
But before we left, Peppe came and greeted us to ensure that we had enjoyed our experience at Il Buco. Such a talented, passionate man and this definitely shines through in the menu, the creations of flavour and the setting that will mean il Buco will be a restaurant we will not forget in a while. All compliments to a talented and genuinely humble chef.
Simple, unfussy cuisine with a blend of traditional and modern influences, an excellent wine list of around 1000 different labels and service that manages to be efficient yet friendly and informal at the same time. Housed in the cellars of an old monastery in the heart of Sorrento, this restaurant offers gourmet dining in a homely and cosy ambience.
2ª Rampa Marina Piccola,
5 (Piazza S.Antonino), 80067
Tel +39 081 878 2354
Reservations can be made directly via il Buco’s website