Mid October, Italian restaurant Bussia opened doors in de negen straatjes (or nine little streets) of Amsterdam. There aren’t many good Italian restaurants in Amsterdam. A few good pizzerias but no restaurants that take Italian food up one notch. So I was happy to try out Bussia and was certainly not disappointed.
When checking out their web site, I was struck by the style, which is rural but in a very designed way. The home page shows a typical hilly landscape with vineyards and an Italian villa in the background – in black and white, with carefully selected fonts, a beautiful logo and all developed in flash. The restaurant is the same – a lot of wood, thick but plain white table cloths and large cutlery and wine glasses. Country style, but expensive and perfectly designed. To round it all off, there was modern jazz music in the background.
My first impression was good. A very friendly answer when making a reservation by phone. And as so often, the first impression proved to be a lasting one – the service at Bussia was very friendly and welcoming in a personal way.
The name Bussia stems from the Barolo vineyards in Piedmont, near Alba in northern Italy. The menu is very Piedmont style and uses many typical northern Italian ingredients such as truffles, porcini, plums, nuts and fontina cheese. The wine list is impressive and equally Piedmont oriented with a large selection of strong red Barolos and Barberas as well as many wines made from the Nebbiolo and Dolcetto grapes that are popular in the region.
Next to being Piedmont style, the food at Bussia is distinctly “Slow Food” – an eco-gastronomic organization founded in Barolo in 1986 to counteract fast food, the disappearance of local food and traditions and people’s dwindling interest in how food tastes. Unfortunately we had plans later that evening and had to settle for main course only instead of going for the six course tasting menu.
To start, we were served a quite extensive amuse of bisque and octopus crostini. We then ordered cappellacci and wild duck. The cappellacci pasta was perfectly cooked and had a pumpkin and amaretti filling that was nice and smooth with a subtle bitter finish. When the wild duck was served, I was warned to watch out for pellets when having a bite. I did not find any lead, but lovely, tender duck meat with a present game-like flavor. It was cooked perfectly, the meat pink in the middle.
For dessert we went with apple and almond cake that was served warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The obligatory espresso was short and strong and served with a lemon merengue cookie with passion fruit that had a wonderful sweet and sour taste.
Restaurant Bussia is located on Reestraat 28, in the negen straatjes, in Amsterdam.