Lower Guinea Street, Bristol , BS1 6SY
First opened in 1999 by the Sanchez family, Casamia started life as an authentic pizza and pasta trattoria in Bristol. Their parents’ passion for food soon rubbed off on the two Sanchez boys and before long Jonray and Peter had taken the reigns and propelled the restaurant into a whole new realm. These self-taught chefs questioned everything; learning and breaking down boundaries; challenging ideas and reinventing classic flavour combinations, gathering a Michelin star and four AA rosettes along the way. The exterior of Casamia’s new home – a quirky Grade II listed building by the harbour – is serene and beautifully crafted, demonstrating exactly what Casamia is about. If you’ve previously dined in the Westbury-on-Trym restaurant, you will instantly feel at home; the concept, the team and the menu remain the same. Casamia is very much a narrative – it’s personal, it’s immersive and it’s gentle. The brand-new, custom-built open kitchen is clearly visible and the chefs working within it are completely absorbed in their craft. There’s no drama, simply quiet concentration. The ten-course menu changes four times a year in accordance with the season. Each course is delivered to the table by its creator, where they divulge the story behind the dish and unveil its complex layers. Begin with snacks – mouthfuls of flavour to awaken your palate – followed by two starter courses, a fish and a meat dish, and then their famous transitional dish. A clever blend of well-balanced and exciting savoury and sweet flavours is how diners are delivered smoothly from main to dessert. Summer, for example, sees lemon cheesecake mousse with fresh peas, pea shoots and pea granita, while a winter transition might comprise butternut squash, roasted over wood embers with caramel sauce. Then commences dessert, which always includes a fruit pot, inspired by the Sanchez brothers’ memories of their mother’s tinned peaches and cream. The Sanchez brothers have always referenced their childhood, whether that is through the food or, more recently, in the opening of two new establishments. The Pi Shop is a nod to the original roots of Casamia, serving up sourdough pizza (made from three-year-old leven originally from an apple) and ice cream. Taco Tapas is set to open shortly – a bright and colourful authentic tapas and sherry bar, and homage to Paco Sanchez, who originally hailed from Andalusia.