Thursday, 27 April 2017

Casanova, Cardiff Italian restaurant review - Assaggi menu

The recent launch of Casanova’s small plate (assaggi) menu offered the perfect excuse for a revisit to this Cardiff based Italian restaurant that's a fixture in both the Michelin and Good Food Guides.

Available Monday - Thursday from 5 to 7pm, it offers a more accessible price point than the evening set menu with each assaggio weighing in around the £4-5 mark.

As we browsed the menu we were given complimentary dinky glasses of Lettera penisola sorrentina, a beautifully fruity yet dry sparkling Campanian red wine. We ordered a couple more larger glasses for a bargainous offer price of £3.50 each.

Ragu’di manzo (£5) was a deep flavoured stew of red wine and tomato studded with yielding pieces of slow cooked beef and topped with a golden sheet of fried polenta. 

Ceci (£3.50) was Mrs G’s dish of the night. Tender chickpeas and soft butternut squash compote were cleverly fragranced with roast lemon puree.

A first rate piece of earthy, chilli-spiked black pudding (£3.50) was joined by sweet and tangy red onion chutney, fiery chilli sauce and pieces of roast apple that could have been a touch softer. 

A pretty head of golden roast cauliflower (£4) was seasoned with salty capers and lemon fragranced brown butter. It was lovely combined with the black pudding and the beef stew. 

Meaty, dill-fragranced house cured salmon (£5) came with a couple of blobs of creamy avocado puree and refreshing pickled cucumber. It would have been even better if the advertised horseradish in the puree was detectable. 

A goats cheese and beetroot salad (£6) was a great example of this classic combination - the tender cubes of beet were coated in a warming horseradish dressing whilst the tangy goats cheese was drizzled with fragrant truffle honey. 

Seriously savoury pieces of 36 month aged parmesan (£5) were balanced by spreadably sweet quince jelly.

A freebie salad combined well-dressed shavings of fennel with refreshing orange segments and crisp pecans. 

Finally, top drawer Tuscan salami (£4) was heady with the aroma of fennel. 

Soft and crusty white bread was a lovely mop for all the delicious sauces and dressings. 

Desserts were both epic.

A gorgeously wobbly coconut pannacotta (£6) was served with blowtorched pineapple, oat crumble and sweet lime curd.

A super rich and smooth chocolate torte (£6) was joined by salty caramel sauce and balancing creme fraiche.

Casanova is one of Cardiff City Centre’s few excellent independent restaurants. If you’re looking for an excuse for a first visit or a revisit, their new Assaggi menu is it.

The Details:

Address - Casanova, 13 Quay Street, Cardiff, CF10 1EA
Telephone - 02920344044

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