Casamia in its final days was a dark, edgy gastro-dungeon - reflective of Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ desire to buck trends and blur boundaries. Casa is a different beast entirely - the black walls have been whitewashed, the club-ready sound system has been turned down, and the tasting menu of old has gone, replaced by a sophisticated Italian a la carte. Still, if you come here thinking it’ll be your average posh pasta, get ready for a surprise - Sanchez-Iglesias doesn’t do ‘your average’ and his innovative spin on Italian classics is fresh, exciting and delicious.
The interiors are minimal - perhaps a touch spartan, but they give Casa the flexibility to host anything from big anniversary blowouts to casual catch ups over pasta. The house music that streams from the sound system might not be to everyone’s taste (like we said, Casa still has a few surprises up the sleeve), but when the food starts to arrive it becomes the least of your worries.
First there are dainty puffs of fried semolina, bursting with Parmesan cream. Crudo blue belly prawns have a tender sweetness and creaminess that really makes them a must order. The sourcing of cured meats and cheeses is first-rate, and like Paco Tapas next door, some of the best dishes are hiding in the scrawl of the specials - we stumble upon an outstanding bowl of mussels in ‘nduja cream, for example, where the shells make perfect little boats for scooping up sauce. Excellent focaccia handles the rest of the mop-job.
There’s a level of technical precision that makes Casa special too. The double agnolotti, for example, are exquisitely-crafted - two agnolotti folded from a single length of pasta, filled with pumpkin cream and ricotta respectively. This attention to detail carries through the service too - dishes arrive in nice little groupings, and the pacing is perfect. Former Casamia sommelier Tom Lakin has assembled a drinks list that runs very comfortably alongside too (we loved the cocoa rum, Cocchi Storico and maraschino cherry ‘Chocogroni’).
Dare we say it, our meal is also pretty great value at around £50 a head before drink. Casamia was always going to be a tough act to follow, but Casa steps into those shoes with aplomb.