Guest review by Mr. V
Having been very nicely asked to be a guest reviewer for Your Last Mouthful, last Thursday I met my associate Miss D and we went to Casa Bianca on City Road for a 3 course meal.
The exterior of the restaurant was clean, modern and stylish perhaps out classing the surrounding area along City Road. There were also outside tables which will be nice for the warmer weather next year.
We were greeted on entry and shown to our seats. The interior was not your typical Italian décor – but a mixture of old and modern paintings and photographs, some funky stripped walls, and a couple of dressed manikins.
Sounds a little odd but I thought it worked well and gave a quirky, more homely feel and made a pleasant change to the usual typical Mediterranean style. The lighting was just right, not too bright and not too dark and the music was at a good volume making the ambience exactly how I like it.
Sipping a cold Peroni, the friendly and accommodating waiter took our order. The meal titles were written in Italian and so I ordered the starters in my best Italian but then the main course meals seemed a little tricky so I went for listing the main ingredients in my best English. However, the keen waiter – having been impressed with my first attempts of Italian encouraged me to continue with the lingo. I think it’s always important to build up a good simple rapport with customers. It makes a big difference to the dining experience and the staff at Casa Biance were masters at this.
So, for the starters…
I opted for the Funghi Cacciatore which was mushrooms in a chilli and tomato sauce served with 2 discs of crispy polenta (not usually a fan of polenta but with the crispy outer it complemented the dish very nicely). My associate Miss D opted for the Funghi Bianchi which was mushrooms in a dolce latte sauce served with crusty bread. It was certainly a very tasty sauce and both were very nicely presented.
One thing I noted with the presentation – it was clear that there was a right way up and a wrong way up to the dish and the waiter was sure to turn the plate into the correct position for the customer. This shows in itself how much care the chef takes with the execution of his dishes.
Onto the mains. ..
I had Spaghetti Marinara and Miss D had sea bass in bread crumbs with a ginger and lemon sauce. The Spaghetti Marinara was presented very nicely, with mussels, clams, squid and prawns with tomato, garlic, chilli and parmesan. The whole dish was moist so no need for a substantial sauce. It was all very pleasant, although I would have liked to have been armed with a spoon and fork rather than a knife and fork.
Miss D’s sea bass was again presented very nicely with a bit of balsamic glaze and cress artistry on the side. The fish was cooked well being meaty, soft and moist and a nice subtle sauce being able to taste both the ginger and lemon. It was accompanied with seasonal vegetables and roasted potatoes.
Sea Bass in Bread Crumbs with a Ginger and Lemon Sauce
After the appropriate amount of time to let the main course settle, the waiter came over and took us to the front of the restaurant to show us what was on offer. There were 3 desserts all personally handmade by the chef. There was an apple crumble tart, a lemon cheesecake and the all important tiramisu. I was very pleased to hear they were all homemade as so many restaurants buy in the desserts these days which I find very disappointing. The waiter sold them to us very well – especially the lemon cheesecake. I was torn. Miss D went straight in for the cheesecake, leaving me pained as that was what I was also going to order (and I don’t like to order the same). However even though they all looked good I caved and ordered the cheesecake too.
Again presented very nicely with a bit of white chocolate sauce, a segment of lemon and a powdering of icing sugar, it went down a treat. I was concerned initially by the size of it thinking I’ll never finish it, but it was almost mousse like – very soft, light and smooth and finished the meal off very nicely.
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience with a good selection on the menu including meat and fish dishes – not just pasta and pizza, good varied prices from £9 to £19, excellent service and good tasting food.
My last mouthful was: The funghi Bianchi.
Atmosphere and decor-
Quality of food-
Diversity of menu-
Value for money-