A short while ago, we were given the opportunity to head out to Casalinga for the evening. We had heard about Casalinga and had it suggested a few times, so were were quite amped to get down there and taste the fruits of this place! Upon arrival in the early evening the parking lot was full, so I would recommend making a booking beforehand.
When you walk in the door, the friendly staff members immediately check your booking and help you to your seat. I would at this point advise you not to look directly to your left, as all that you will see and smell is freshly ground percolating coffee and a full spread of chocolate treats which could seriously hamper your progress at getting to your table! Inside the main dining room there were only two sizes of tables, but even one of the smaller ones would be more than ample for two people to comfortably have wine, food and cutlery out with space to spare (we’ll chalk this statement down to experience).
First things first was the wine. We asked for the wine list but to our dismay we were told there wasn’t one! This was all forgiven though when we were invited into the cellar to choose our wine! We decided on a 2004 Friesenhof Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc blend, and it was absolutely to die for!
And now on to the food; for starters I had the carpaccio served with celery, avocado, mushrooms and course ground salt and pepper, while Bonita ordered the tomato seafood soup. To our surprise, the food arrived in under 10 minutes! The waitron knew which meal belonged to each of us, and placed Bonita’s on the table first. The carpaccio was heavenly, with just the right mix of every ingredient (even the celery, which is far from my favourite food). From the first bite, Bonita was raving about her soup; thick and chunky, with just the right amount of tomato flavour complete with seafood pieces chunky enough that you could eat with a fork.
For mains (and being a sucker for lamb), I had the lamb shank in red wine and herbs with veggies. Yet again the food arrived in a very short time and was handed out ‘ladies first’! The veggies consisted of a lightly fried peppers, garden peas and tomato mix which was very light, tasty and crisp, but the meat took the cake! I didn’t even have to apply any force, the minute I touched the fork to the lamb shank the meat ‘let go’ of the bone and dropped off. Positively divine! For mains, Bonita had the salmon tortellini, which was also met with rave reviews between chewing and smiles!
For desserts yet again there is no menu, they let the desserts speak for themselves. Upon finishing your meal, you are escorted to the front of the dining hall where all the deserts are put out on display. We chose the crème brûlée, the chocolate mousse and berry cake, and the mango tart (which for interests sake is made from nothing but mango and nuts, no sugar, no eggs and no dairy) and headed back to our table. The crème brûlée had a thick, crisp top which made the most satisfactory sound on cracking it, with a taste to match from the creamy center of it. I’m a nut for crème brûlée, and this is definitely way up there! The chocolate mousse and berry cake can only be described as decadent bliss, no words here could do it justice, we both recommend you go out and try it. The mango tart, also great, not too sweet, but not to savoury either, is just a really awesome mix that leaves you with your eyes closed and mumbling a soft “mmmm…” to yourself.
Casalinga’s fully stocked bar has a fine selection of cigars, as well as a great selection of rare whiskeys and brandies including my favourite Islay malt, Caol Ila. So if you are looking for a great night out from a dinner for two with someone special, to a cigar and whiskey night with the boys (or girls), Casalinga is a great place to go.