Casa Bianca

175 City Road, Cardiff     
Tel: 029 20494779
www.casa-bianca.co.uk
 
I am not a great fan of Italian Restaurants – almost-identical menus, schmaltzy music, giant pepper mills – you know the sort of thing – and I begrudge paying £9.50 for a spaghetti bolognese that I could make for 95p!

As CDC will readily testify, on the few occasions when I am not right, I am happy to admit readily that I am wrong.  Casa Bianca certainly gives me reason to adjust my view, starting with the décor which blends modern furniture and photographs with Italian decorative features such as wrought iron grids.  There’s the makings of what I thought was a Roman Arch but was in fact inherited from the previous Indian restaurant!

The restaurant is still in the process of having opening evenings so we were treated to a selection of starters, the most noteable of which were a very tangy fish cake, king prawns with fava beans and mussels with a chilli-influenced crust.

The Head Chef, Nazaro Zacharielli, who is as charming as he is a good cook – one of our companions thought he was the Italian version of Robert Downey Jnr! – talked us through all the selection and also gave poetic descriptions of the mains that he had chosen for us that night, which included a prawn risotto, where the rice was soft but crunchiness added with slivers of peppers.  A very satisfying main was a tagliatelle with lamb which included chunks of particularly tender lamb, kidneys and chorizo whose flavours were imparted into the sauce and tossed into the organic home made pasta which you could almost see through.  The main dishes were elegantly presented with just the right amount of plate decoration to remind you that you are in a modern establishment but not too distracting from the food – and not a giant pepper-mill to be seen!   All this was helped down by a Sensi Chianti which demonstrates what a good wine this can be when it is not abused.  The atmosphere was added to and kept up to date with Rat Pack and New York Italian music.

Purely in the interest of research and for your information, we sampled deserts of Limoncello Cake – very light with pockets of liqueur – and home -made blueberry tart and cranberry tart - refreshing but edifying.

Casa Bianca will be in full swing by 14th February when they are offering a special Valentines Day Menu with a unique Romeo and Julietta theme to include a romantic cocktail,  a ‘Cuore e Amore,’ followed by three courses, each with good choices, at £24.00 per head -  that’s particularly good for such a commercialised night.  Even if Nazaro is too busy to exercise his charm on you, I am sure that Zac, one of the co-owners who was front of house when we were there, will guide you through the evening with equal charm and attention, so book early! 

Richard Fisher

 

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