Fine Dining maybe struggling, but flavour and produce driven dishes, underpinned by very sound techniques are not. Feeding you well, wrapped within a spirit of conviviality, is what Host Andrea Nazzari and Chef Valerio Boncompagni do. It’s the very DNA of Casa Mia Osteria. Located a stones throw from St Peters Station, on King Street in Newtown, this warming Osteria is the genuine evocation of that word. It’s like a big warm hug from the moment you walk in; the type of place you will gather up your friends, park the world for a couple of hours and just enjoy.
The bar is well appointed to cover all your cocktail indulgences, and the negroni more than passes muster it’s very good. Always a good start to any evening methinks. What particularly catches my attention however is the charcuterie is all done in-house. That immediately indicates a duty of care and passion that wins me over very early on. I’ll need to indulge a mixed platter from the dedicated fridge, and it is an indulgent odyssey of all things magnificently prepared and cured. It could end right here, and I could leave happy. But you know me better than that – let’s order up and push the envelope, as I like what I see. However, I should mention before that, the focaccia is particularly more-ish, and the olive oil equally so!
Let’s start with the octopus braised in red wine with potato and leek velouté. It’s sublimely tender, well-seasoned, the potato is silky, and the dish has a depth of flavour that diners would remember fondly of the Chef at Baccomatto Osteria. The roll continues with beautifully textured homemade potato gnocchi with porcini mushrooms, roasted hazlenut and parmesan. It’s a generous portion, like all the dishes, and the umami hit pushes all my buttons. Similarly, the rigatoni Amatriciana with homemade guanciale does not disappoint.
Apologies, I digress, because I originally came here to try their authentic Pinsa Romana pizza, that being oval shaped instead of round, and the texture being more crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside. It’s a unique blend of flours, that undergoes a seventy two hour maturation process, driven by a mother yeast – the result a winner, and by all accounts healthier. Not a concern for me, but a point made for others. I choose the nduja: spicy salame, tomato sauce, caramelised red onion and ricotta, and the truffle ham with asiago cheese and truffle honey, and I am an instant convert to this style of pizza. Judging by the takeaway flying out the door, so is the rest of Newtown!
I am teetering on the edge, however the Sbriciolata (almond crumble cake) with sour cherry and ricotta is simply magnificent, and definitely worth the indulgence. It’s easily one of the best desserts of the year for me, and a fitting way to end a very joyous meal. I should also mention the extensive wine list, with price points clearly in the diners favour. This along with service that is genuinely from the heart, forms a compelling reason to return, which I most assuredly will.
By Dane Richards