Vanessa: Sydney’s popular waterfront dining district, King St Wharf, has welcomed a new kid on the block with the opening of the newly launched Casa Ristorante Italiano. Myself and fellow FFS bloggers, Bianca and Alex, were invited* to dine at Casa and sample the new menu which is packed full of traditional Italian dishes.
This latest venture from The Platinum Restaurant Group, whose list of establishments include Blackbird Café and Manly’s Whitewater Grill, has recently undergone an impressive modern fit out, creating a sophisticated al fresco dining experience with no amount of detail spared. The centrally focused bar, where an extensive range of unique cocktails are mixed and served, is an eye-catching feature of the restaurant. This, coupled with the fresh grocery display and the pizza making bar with its large wood fired oven, instantly creates an inviting ambience that reflects the culture of the cuisine.
Upon arrival we were presented with a Spicy Lychee Martini, a sweet yet punchy variant on the traditional, along with an impressive array of cold meats and Italian condiments.
The generous serve of antipasto, known as the Affettati Misti ($23.90) consisted of hand picked and aged cured meats along with pickled vegetables and marinated olives, serve with house made bread.
We also witnessed pizza spinning extraordinaire, Salvatore D’avolo spin, twist and work a pizza dough unlike anything I had ever seen before. Makes for a very entertaining demonstration and produces a thin, airy base.
Excited for the meal ahead we moved into Casa’s spacious private dining room to sample more delights off the newly launched menu. It should be noted that the private dining room at Casa can seat up to 60 people with the opportunity to also extend into the outside dining area. It’s one to keep in mind if you are planning a celebratory affair.
Once seated the friendly and attentive wait staff hustled to bring out our shared entrée courses. An array of dishes were set down before us and consisted of the Capesante Scottate ($19.90), seared scallops with parsnip purée and garlic finished with caper berries and home-made crumbed potato chips.
Calamari Fritti ($19.90) served with chilli, basil, parsley and aioli.
Fior Di Zucca ($16.90), zucchini flowers stuffed with goat’s milk feta, black olives and semi-dried tomatoes. Each dish was cooked perfectly resulting in strong, idyllic flavours.
My favourite entrée hands down was the Arancini ($16.90), a traditional dish of fried risotto balls stuffed with pumpkin and smoked mozzarella served with a chilli mayonnaise. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside producing a delicious result.
Choosing the main course was rather difficult as we had around 15 different dishes on offer ranging from pasta to pizza to meat and fish. We decided the best option was for us each to choose a main that we could sample between us (although the fear of food envy lingered when only one of us could have the very tempting beef tenderloin medallion, slow roasted at a temperature of 65 degrees).
Bianca was lucky enough to sample the said Beef Tenderloin Medallion ($39.90), which was cooked medium rare (as the temp would suggest) and served with truffle mash, caramelized onions and pancetta.
Alex went with the Agnello Pizza ($26.90) comprising of marinated lamb, feta, Spanish onions, pumpkin with Napolitana sauce. Whilst the base was thin and well cooked, it was a unanimous sentiment that the lamb overpowered the taste of the pizza which was unfortunate given that the combined elements traditionally sit so well together.
In a last minute ditch away from barramundi, I sampled the Pork Belly ($39.90) which was a definite crowd pleaser, both visually and gastronomically. The skin was thin, crispy and cooked perfectly. The generous serve of belly was thick and to my delight not overly fatty in flavor. This was served on a truffle mash alongside two seared scallops finished with an apple mousse and cider reduction. A delicious dish, but one for a big appetite and by this stage I was reaching tipping point!
We then moved on to the final course of dessert ($12 each) and were so pleased that the triple serve eliminated the need for us to choose. We were presented with three delightful dishes one being a light and classic Tiramisu, sampled by Alex.
Bianca was very content with the Warm Chocolate Tart served with strawberries, pistachios and salted caramel ice-cream (yum!)
I sampled the Sticky Date Pudding with nougat and vanilla bean ice-cream, which was amazing and just the right amount. All three sweets were beautifully presented, bold in flavour and I would recommend either of those as great choice for dessert.
As if we hadn’t ingested enough, we decided to sample a few more of Casa’s cocktails before calling it a day. We tried the aeperol spritz, Italian fling and my personal favourite the cucumber collins. If you are looking for a refreshing beverage to round of a meal, then do not look past this one. It was light, fresh and a perfect end to a perfect lunch.
We left Casa Ristorante Italiano feeling overjoyed to have experienced the menu at this beautiful venue which I believe will reinvigorate this dining district. Definitely give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!
Vanessa, Bianca & Alex
*For Food’s Sake were invited to Casa Risorante Italiano by Wasamedia. All opinions, however, are independent.