|Pizza spinning at Casa|
Great Italian feast may change your mind.
Surely, harbour-side dining has never been my first preferences in terms of picking a place to eat, mostly because the touristy and underwhelming meal that everyone seem to be complaining about. But behold, my belief about this was overturned by an epic meal.
Casa Ristorante does not have vivacious reviews on Urbanspoon, but now after the renovation and other changes, I won't be surprised if those disappointing reviews will turn to positive ones. Both of the outdoor and indoor dining area were arranged nearly and elegantly, brimming with romantic and relaxing feel. And bad rumors or not, harbour-side view is still impressive.
They have separated counter just for pizza making, complete with wood-fired oven. The kitchen is also open for customers peeking and stalking those skillful chefs' moves. Traces of bricks and firewood display adds some warm ambiance to the place.
|Pizza-making counter (check out the wood-fired oven!)|
I was there for a lunch with some friendly and talented food bloggers, and the arrival of antipasti platter entree brought all boys (and girls) to the yard. It was like a signal for the food bloggers to get their cameras ready and shuttering away. Needless to say, nobody touched the platter before making sure everyone and every cameras, be it DSLR or phone cameras, had their share of snapping the food.
The antipasti platter itself was superb. I personally loved the cured meat, salami, and prosciutto, especially combined with tangy and salty dried tomatoes and olives.
|Antipasti platter with olives and capers (bottom)|
Our feast that day was begun theatrically with pizza spinning action by Salvator D'Avola, who apparently also runs pizza spinning class for both adults and children. From spinning, tossing, and keeping the pizza dough on the finger while lying and half-dancing on the floor; playing with food had never seemed so fun.
Then the door was opened, and we entered impatiently, basically tapping our feet for the highly-anticipated meal. With the great entree and pizza acrobatic as the start, higher expectation to the food couldn't be helped.
But firstly, let's grab a sip of alcohol. From Casa's wide ranges of alcohol and cocktail choices, I pointed my finger to the rather innocent-sounding fairy tail. It was sweet, refreshing, and definitely pretty, but I was wrong about the innocent part. I could feel my cheeks getting hot and red in seconds.
|Fairy tail (Russian Standard Vodka, Peach Schnapps & Malibu, topped up with a cranberry & pineapple blend, garnished with fresh fruits) - $16|
Shared entrees were served, and our eyes started to sparkle a bit more. Fat, crunchy balls of arancini stuffed with pumpkin and smoked mozzarella were sure a crowd pleaser. The inside is firm enough with great accompaniment of creamy chilli mayonnaise. Capesante scottate also passed with flying colours, perfectly seared scallops with parsnip puree and garlic plus crumbed potato chips atop.
|L - R: arancini ($16.9), capesante scottate ($19.9)|
Fiori di zucca joined the party with crunchy batter enveloping zucchini flowers stuffed with goat's milk feta, black olives, and semi dried tomato, served on a puddle of tasty chilli jam.
|Fiori di zucca - $16.9|
The latest comer, however, was the one that I couldn't stop pinching of. Calamari fritti was everything the description called for and more, with squid cooked so well it was yielding enough but still retained some lovely bite. And the aioli was awesome too.
|Calamari fritti - $19.9|
We were free to choose our own main, and so we opted for different main in order to get more opportunities to taste different dishes. Sihan's choice brought us into tears of jealousy. I mean, would you look at that bad boy?
The pork belly glistened gloriously under the spotlight, and it tasted as astounding as it looked. Ear-shattering sound from the golden crackling and juicy, succulent meat. The soldiers surrounding it included truffle mash, seared scallops and cabbage, also with apple mousse and cider reduction.
I wished I had picked that one before she did.
|Pork belly - $32.9|
I reckon Annie made a great decision settling for aragosta & granchio ravioli, which is ravioli filled with substantial amount of lobster and crab, encased in a pool of warm, thick shellfish butter sauce. I only had a few spoonfuls of this dish and each was overflowing with great flavours.
|Aragosta & granchio ravioli (lobster & crab ravioli) - $29.9|
Italian food almost always about pizza to me. It is one of my all-time comfort food, and one that I am always excited to have. Casa's pizza sure isn't one-person pizza, I strongly encourage sharing, unless you are absolutely famished.
Romangola pizza was my choice for main that day, and it landed on the table with radiant colours. The toppings were given quite abundantly and the combination worked really well. But really, what can go wrong with prosciutto, right? One trivial suggestion though, a little bit more cheese or moisture would do this pizza good.
|Romangola pizza (prosciutto, pear, semi-dried tomato, rocket & melted gorgonzola) - $27.9|
And the others' mains that I didn't try. All seemed to be utterly enjoyed. A note about the mains, most of them were served in large portion. The pasta and even the pork belly can feed two people easily, I reckon, and not to mention the pizza. One plate of main can fill you up quickly, especially if you scrape your entree plates clean like we did.
|Maialina pizza (18 months old prosciutto, fresh tomato, mascapone & mozzarella) - $25.9|
|Tenderloin medallion (prime beef medallion with truffle mash, caramelised onions & pancetta, served with jus gras) - $39.9|
|L - R: spaghetti marinara (fresh mixed seafood in squid ink sauce, shaved baby fennel and parsley) $30.9, gnocchi (duck egg gnocchi with sage butter, pumpkin puree, peas, goat cheese and olive tapenade) $25.9|
As full as we were, these desserts were nothing but sincerely welcomed on the table(s). The three options of dessert were served alternatively, and I had warm chocolate tart in front of me. It was served with a scoop of smooth salted caramel ice cream, strawberries and crushed pistachio. While the hilarious pastry chef sitting next to me deemed that the pastry might be a little overcooked, the chocolate filling was rich and delightful.
|Warm chocolate tart - $12|
It seemed to be Sihan's lucky day with her being served the best dessert of the day: sticky date pudding. The presentation itself was already very seducing, and the light yet rich and moist sponge combined with warm caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream did make me shoot her some envy glares. It was a good thing that she is a nice lady that shares her dessert.
|Sticky date pudding - $12|
Albeit being the prettiest of them all, the tiramisu seemed to be the black sheep of the dessert family. Not that it was not good, I personally do not have any complain about it, it's just that it was not as memorable as the two formers.
|Tiramisu - $12|
My view of harbour-side dining was changed massively after that meal, and maybe yours can be flipped too. I may still have some apprehension about the other restaurants around, but at least I have Casa Ristorante in mind when I am around the area.
Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000
Rating: 3.5/5 (Really worth the try)
Great Italian food with wide selections of cocktails, great ambiance with beautiful harbour-side view, service is friendly and accommodating, price is reasonable with the quality of food served.
Irene's Getting Fat! attended lunch at Casa Ristorante Italiano courtesy of Casa Ristorante Italiano and Wasamedia (Alana and George). Thank you very much! However, all opinions are based on my personal taste.
CASA RISTORANTE ITALIANO
Building 42-48 / The Promenade
King Street Wharf Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9279 4115
Web: Casa Ristorante Italiano