Saturday, 24 March 2012

Casa Bianca, City Road, Cardiff, Restaurant Review

Update - Casa Bianca has now closed

The service we received from Max at Casa Bianca last night is amongst the best I have ever experienced in Cardiff. This genial, good-humoured, knowledgeable, efficient and sharply attired individual (he’s on the left on the left of the picture wearing some awesome wide braces) elevated a very enjoyable meal to an excellent meal.

Casa Bianca is a Baroque styled haven nestled amongst the grey hustle and bustle of City Road. Its menu consists of traditional Italian classics (pizzas, pastas, meat and fish) along with a number of more contemporary interpretations of Italian food. The presentation of the food at Casa Bianca is worth a mention as well. Every dish was precisely plated and the use of micro-herbs showed a level of care far greater than would be expected from a local Italian restaurant.

To start I ordered the Zuppe ai frutti di mare (£7.95). An intense fish broth was well seasoned and brim full of the taste of the sea. Generous quantities of langoustine, prawns, mussels, squid and clams satisfied my desire for protein and a lovely airy piece of homemade bread was ideal for dunking.

Mrs G ordered the Barchetta di verdure (£5.95). Warm, soft ciabatta was slathered with soft, creamy cheese and topped with perfectly seasoned chargrilled aubergines and courgettes. This was a master class in simplicity. Every flavour and texture was on the nail.

Next up was mains and Mrs G’s Tagliatelle al pesto rico (£9.90) was a simple yet highly effective combination of al dente pasta, light and fresh tasting pesto and a scattering of soft new potatoes and French beans. Her side dish of a lightly oiled red onion and tomato salad (£3.25) worked perfectly.

The standout element of my main of Agnello al Forno (£16.95) was the red onion and rosemary sauce. Some kind of saucery (I couldn’t resist) must have been responsible for the amount of flavour it contained. Meaty, smokey, sweet and herby, Mrs G and I licked the plate clean and were even tempted to lick the drops I spilt on the table cloth. The rack of lamb itself was well flavoured but a lot of hard work was required, even by my standards, to get all the meat off the bone. The accompanying vegetables too were well seasoned but were a little over cooked.

Casa Bianca’s dessert menu is remarkably brief consisting of cheesecake, tiramisu and affogato. I guess it must mean the chef has total confidence in this limited range of homemade desserts. And he has every reason to. Mrs G and I were presented with two comically large slices of cheesecake which looked as though they could even defeat my appetite. However, the light mousse-like consistency of both my Baileys cheesecake (£3.95) and Mrs G’s lemon cheesecake (£3.95) was a revelation. It was so good I’d return to Casa Bianca for this dish alone.

Casa Bianca is another homely Italian restaurant serving up delicious food which I’ll add to my collection along with Casanova.

The Details:
Casa Bianca
175 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3JB

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