Me Casa, Su Casa Ristorante

Eat, Sydney / 28 May 2014

Casa Ristorante has just raised the standard for waterfront dining in Sydney’s beautiful Darling Harbour. After a lengthy renovation, the Italian restaurant has reopened its doors for both indoor and outdoor dining on the Promenade. It’s located amongst the smorgasbord of upscale eateries along the King Street Wharf. This place is perfectly suited to a relaxed alfresco dinner with a million dollar view of the harbour, a secluded romantic dinner or a friendly dinner party.
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The outdoor seating area is romantically lit with strings of fairy lights draped over graceful white umbrellas, with arching ironwork and flame heaters to ward off the chill. Indoors is dramatic exposed brick with contrasting polished wood and porthole mirrors, dimly lit and incredibly cosy. But the real focus is the wood-fired pizza oven, flown in from Tuscany and large enough for an adult to crawl into…Hansel and Gretel style!
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Casa Ristorante also boasts its own cheese room, complete with a specialised fridge just for the restaurant’s wide selection of cheeses, a prosciutto slicer and enough wine to keep F. Scott Fitzgerald happy.
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Talented head pizza chef – Sicilian-born Salvatore D’Avola – twirls dough on his fingertips as if it were a basketball, like a magician in the background. It’s common for diners to routinely approach the kitchen and take photos of this impressive talent so don’t feel shy about doing the same. D’Avola also runs pizza classes on the side, sharing his passion with amateur chefs and devoted dough-lovers.
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The well-stocked island-style bar serves every cocktail you can imagine, including a couple of Casa’s signature cocktails. Whilst the Lychee Martini is almost painfully spicy the Cucumber Cocktail is nice and cooling on the palate.
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The diligent bartenders will make any cocktail you can name, and serve it quick smart. The Pina Colada tasted like Hawaii in the summertime, and the Amaretto Sour combined smooth, sweet and sour to perfection.
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To accompany the cocktails a wonderful selection of soft, crusty sourdough, cured meats including delicious spicy salami and a generous selection of olives are available.
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The new menu is a blend of hearty main meals, seafood and gourmet pizza. The appetisers are a treat in themselves – heavenly risotto arancini balls, perfectly cooked sea scallops, delightfully crunchy calamari and the zesty zucchini flowers aren’t to be missed.
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The main meals are beautifully presented with all the hallmarks of a chef who takes pride in his work. The succulent, crispy, sweet pork belly is perfectly complemented with truffle mashed. The gluten-free barramundi filetto is evenly cooked, not too salty and accented with mini potatoes that are crispy on the outside but wonderfully soft on the inside. The corn, tomatoes and cucumber were chopped up and combined shakshuka-style, and finished with lemon, which added just enough zest.
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But it was the Tenderloin Medallion that was the real treat – served medium-rare at the chef’s recommendation; the knife slices through it like butter. It’s so tender it almost melts in your mouth, and the savoury truffle mash and caramelised onions are perfectly balanced by the rich, sweet jus gras. It is truly the must-try dish on the menu.
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Don’t forget to save room for dessert! The soft, creamy Classic Tiramisu is light and bubbly without being too sweet. The rich and buttery Sticky Date Pudding has strong dark chocolate overtones – a perfect match for the delicate caramel sauce that accompanied it.
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The Pièce de résistance of the dessert menu is the Warm Chocolate Tart. With a crumbly crust, creamy ganache centre.
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Finish the evening with a traditional hot chocolate or wonderfully smooth Espresso Martini and you’ll be a very satisfied diner.
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Casa Ristorante Italiano
Darling Harbour
King Street Wharf,
Building 42-48/The Promenade
Sydney, NSW 2000

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