It was a sad day, roughly a fortnight ago, when we learnt of Il Buco’s closing. A Ponsonby stalwart to be sure, it was run for over 15 years by the legendary Jonny Rudduck, who decided the time had come to give up his pizza dream in pursuit of a simpler life.
In doing so, he made way for someone new, handing the keys over to an enthusiastic young Uruguayan by the name of Santiago de los Reyes. Formerly working in property management, the opportunity to revisit his love of food — Reyes ran an organic pizza shop back in the homeland — was too good to turn down.
Enter La Trattoria, a not-so-different pitstop that pays homage to its forebear while delivering an enticing new South American twist. It will come as a relief to diehard Il Buco fans that the focus is still on pizza with toppings like the ‘Bolognesa’ (beef, tomato sauce and mozzarella), the vegan ‘Capricciosa’ (Broccoli and spinach sauce with mushroom, pumpkin and tomato) and the ‘Uruguay’ (tomato sauce with garlic, two kinds of mozzarella and green greek olives).
“But what of the Italian hot chocolate?” we hear you ask. Never fear, it has been replaced with an equally delicious (yet not as thick) vegan variety made using almond milk, cinnamon and cacao. Another vestige of the former address is the soup and soldiers offering that will continue to satiate Ponsonby punters during the winter. With new additions such as a pasta of the day, daily croissants and an epic ricotta cake (Reyes’ grandmother’s recipe), the horizons have been suitably broadened.
Our verdict: while some of the recipes are being finessed, we couldn’t think of a more genuine operation to take up residence in lieu of the beloved Il Buco. La Trattoria, we welcome you.
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113 Ponsonby Rd