Recently moved from Westbury, this is a higher-end option of modern dishes for more notable occasions set in an old hospital, across from one of river Avon's waterfronts in Bristol
Casamia is a swish-looking restaurant serving modern dishes in a newly furbished design (having made a moved from Westbury in early 2017). As at time of writing it is one of two Michelin starred restaurants in Bristol and I very much enjoyed the location, look and feel of this restaurant with the tables being afforded ample space between each other and views of the open kitchen. Such a move (to less covers than before) may explain the restaurant taking away its more affordable set menus for lunch and now sticking with tasting menus only which, from a business point of view I understand. The overall effect of the dishes was that I was impressed and there were some very good moments and this is definitely a place to save for a more notable or special occasion. A mid-strong 1 Michelin starred restaurant in my travels and you will definitely be in very safe and competent cooking hands here.
After a realatively serious introduction at the table by the front of house, the dishes started to arrive in good time and I have to say with a definitely good pace. The first offering was an extremely light pastry shell, housing 36 day aged parmesan in the form of a mousse and with grated parmesan on top. This was frankly knock out and a very strong start.
Next came beautifully soft seaweed meringue which was wonderfully sweet which and handy that it was, to balance the sea-salty prawn emulsion made from carabineros (Spanish) shrimp. The smoked green bean leaf with horseradish had a deep, earthiness of vegetable hispi with a nice crunch of horseradish components and gel inside. Next up came the spring salad with sweet potato, whipped goats curd, kale vinegarette, and this had lovely textures, perfectly cooked vegetables and elegantly sweet and smooth goats curd – a great dish.
Next up, the pickled fennel, beetroot risotto with yoghurt sorbet I found warming with lovely textures and again, fresh, vibrant – altogether as risotto’s go very pleasurable. The trout cooked at the table was imaginative and raised the stakes of presentation and morevover had absolutely delicious crab bisque to go with the glorious trout. The trout roe was a little hard to detect as was dominated by the dashi gel but the play of sweet and sharp was nicely pitched through pleasant textures again. Perfectly good sour dough was presented with butter that was absolutely treated with the respect it deserves.
Lemon sole was cured and grilled with grapes with leek & aerated sabayon. The sabayon was quite bitter, but sweetness was provided from the grapes, on top of the beautifully cooked fish. English sparkling wine from Sussex was pleasant to go with this but personally I would have opted for a less dry wine and something a little more sweet.
The duck part one with lime pickled shallot, duck broth, quail egg yolk had a really deep broth with fragrant flavours throughout and lovely richness to add to the dish to beef up its substance. This was a corker frankly. Duck part two came with chia seeds, pickled green mustard as a superb purèe with pak choi and orange. The latter I found came through quite strongly but the duck was soft and beautiful. It was interesting to have different mouthfuls every time seemingly on this one which was a little confusing at first to see which ‘type’ of moputhful combination was the optimum. When it was possible to have all elements together, it was juicy, sweet and aromatic. A very modern combo to the old school duck à l’Orange.
Tarragon custard, passion fruit granita and gel, tarragon meringue and flakes from nitro preparation was the first of the sweets and this was a great combination. The tarragon dealt with the sweet nicely, it was interesting, light and fun with a slight anaseedy quality. The ginger, rose and Juniper sugar shards on rhubarb sorbet was well judged and with interesting textures within the gel, purée and vanilla cream. The designer of this dish wasn’t afraid of overarching bitters here, but lovely smooth textures and craftmanship was in the background here all the way.
Bizarrely the mushroom based petit four worked, but the aftertaste veered slightly too far as a savoury rather than sweet-savoury for me. The lemon Turkish delight was squidgy and almost gel like and possibly too liquidy here as it started to run in the fingers which implied not being set enough. Even if this was the intention, it made it a little messy to eat with the fingers and was the only bit of the meal I felt that was technically off. However, these are small sensations in an otherwise very good meal.
Overall, this is extremely refined and careful cooking. Personally, I would rather pay more and have a better show like this than lots of people being crammed in to a restaurant to make up the receipts, so although this is definitely one of the more expensive Michelin starred meals out there and one perhaps that very much would put a lot of people off, I believe it to have the quality output it is wishing for.
I was looked very well throughout and it was very good of the head chef, Jim Day, to allow a few moments to me in his kitchen as well. My nip-pick points of this experience overall is that the food veered a little more on the bitter side for my palate and the serioussness of the atmoshpere could be softened and lightened by key floor staff more – I believe some can afford now to take themselves a little less seriously. Other than that, I thought this was accomplished cooking in a swanky and lovely looking restaurant and most certainly the food was in the upper echelon of its Michelin starred peers.
Food Grade: 83%
Location (Click google logo for directions)