On the 26th January, it was mine and my boyfriends first anniversary, so we decided to go to a restaurant we have wanted to go to for ages, Casamia. Jack is really into food and spends half his life (not an exaggeration) watching food videos on YouTube so he had seen Casamia rank really highly amongst critics. It also has a Michelin star so we were expecting great things. For his birthday we went to Paco Tapas, a sister restaurant next door (also with a Michelin star) where the food was absolutely phenomenal.
The booking process is slightly weird but does make sense, you basically pay for your meal before hand so the people who run the restaurant know that you’re definitely going to show up and now exactly how much to prepare. We are students so this was a real blow out meal. The Saturday lunch menu cost £48 to book for food (with wine, coffee etc. costing more).
When we first arrived, we took a seat in the bar area and ordered some drinks. The setting is amazing: perched on the waterside by Bristol harbour, the building stands proud by the water’s edge. Rusticated grey stone, with arches, it shows the signs of the city’s industrial past. The inside of the restaurant is done up beautifully: clean lines, and sophisticated; there is nothing too fussy and it retains an edge of chic-ness. We ordered a bottle of German white between us, and as they took the wine to the table we were given a tour of the kitchen. Our table was probably the best in the house, situated right next to the kitchen so we could see exactly what was going on. Everything ran so smoothly and efficiently, it was definitely a calm kitchen environment, but at the same time, the skill and beauty of what was being produced was almost hypnotising to watch.
One of the things that made the experience so special was the way the chefs brought out each individual dish and explained to us what it was, how it was made, and what made it so special. We started off with a parmesan tart – a crispy parmesan case, with a whipped parmesan mousse, and parmesan sprinkled on top. It was a rich and intense dish with a stunning combination of textures. It is the depth of flavour that I wish all cheese dishes had. Next came a beetroot dish. Thin discs of beetroot done in an assortment of ways with a deep magenta yuzu sauce and yuzu powder over the top, and a foamy creamy layer between each disc. The aim of the dish was to make people appreciate beetroot and not just think of it as something that comes pickled in a jar, and it definitely managed to open my eyes to how good it could taste.
The duck course was broken down into two separate mini courses. The first was an absolutely incredible duck broth, packed full of flavour, with a beautifully poached quails egg providing a rich, almost creamy texture at the end. The second part was duck breast that had been brined and roasted served with collard greens, some of which had been barbequed. Over the top was drizzled a reduction of the broth served previously. The flavour in this dish was phenomenal, in fact, I will probably still be dreaming about it in years to come. With inspiration drawn from Peking duck, it had such a delicate spice and sweet/salty/umami quality that many Asian dishes have. The meat was so juicy and beautifully cooked, it was truly incredible.
Alongside all this, compliments definitely need to be given to the pastry chef for some of the most delicious sourdough I’ve ever tasted. Bread is such an overlooked component of a dinner, but the level of skill gone into getting it so moist and the stretchiness to the dough deserves appreciation.
For dessert was a passion fruit based dish. Served inside a hollowed out passion fruit, it had layers of cream, passion fruit, delicate infusions of tarragon, and on top, frozen passionfruit balls, reminiscent of solero shots I used to have as a child. The combinations of hot and cold were so perfectly thought out.
After dessert we were not expecting anymore, however were delighted to be presented with a selection of sweets. As it was our anniversary they brought out a chocolate mousse, made with the most incredible Italian chocolate. Alongside this was a bowl of freshly baked madeleines. There must have been a small amount of pepper because they left the faintest trail of heat afterwards. To finish, there was a cube of lemon Turkish delight. The texture was so different to any Turkish delight I’ve ever had before, almost falling apart at the touch yet still firmly jelly.
All this incredible food, rounded off with amazing staff who are friendly, down to earth, and clearly the best at what they do, made for the most amazing dining experience I think I have ever had.