Harden's survey result
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“Having moved to a new location and despite the loss of one of the Sanchez brothers, this fine dining eatery is still in the top tier” – the Sanchez-Iglesias family’s “relaxed and stylish” dining room beneath central Bristol’s old General Hospital wins formidable all-round support as a “magical experience” with “clever cuisine”, “intriguing wine”, “impeccable service” and yet “somehow still with a cosy and friendly feel about it”. There is the odd caveat about prices that are becoming “extremely steep for Bristol” however, and even those who say it’s “undeniably excellent” can find it becoming “absurdly expensive”.
“Casamia has moved with aplomb to a dramatic and beautifully designed dining room beneath the old General Hospital building in the heart of Bristol”, and the new location clearly confirms it as the city’s top culinary destination. Its cuisine (featuring multi-course tasting menus) “is every bit as epic as it was in its former premises” – “a carefully constructed, gorgeously presented, technically skilful and, above all, thoroughly flavoursome journey through a series of seasonal ingredients”. “It couldn’t have been any better, especially more so considering the challenges they have gone through in the last year” (namely the loss of co-proprietor Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias, brother of chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias).
“If you like clever, technical, pretty cuisine”, the Sanchez-Iglesias brothers’s “thoughtful and exciting gastronomical experience” – “an event rather than a mere meal” – is based on “a procession of fabulous tasting plates”. Closed in summer 2015, it will re-open in January 2016 on this new site (about five miles from its Westbury-on-Trym origins) on the ground floor of the former Bristol General Hospital, overlooking the harbourside. For the time being, we’ve left it un-rated. Stop Press – in November 2015 Jonray Sánchez-Iglesias lost his fight with skin cancer aged 32 and passed away. Where this leaves plans for the re-launch is unknown.
“Wonderful food from two brothers who are really pushing the boundaries”, and with “superb” service too – the Sanchez-Iglesias family’s Westbury-on-Trym restaurant is an “amazing” destination.
Casamia, The General Restaurant Diner Reviews
"It is still a mystery how Casamia has still got just a single Michelin star, which makes it appear to be on the same level as some inferior pubs that we have eaten in and certainly one other restaurant in Bristol when it is clearly in another class. The first thing the diner will remark on is the relaxed nature of the dining experience, with every diner feeling like an old friend and being shown the kitchen in close-up, the chefs serving the dishes and describing them in great detail, and front of house staff not only willing to discuss all aspects of the meal but clearly able to do so since they are intimately involved as part of the team in all areas of the restaurant, which has the desired result of the whole thing running like clockwork. All this contrasts to a major extent with the stiff, uninterested, service by rote at so many other â€œfine diningâ€ venues. Once again stunning dish followed stunning dish, right from the so-called snacks, an amazing all-in-one truffle and Cornish Gouda mousse in a light brick tartlet with a super aftertaste emanating from the truffle, and a prawn mayo and tartare in a sweet shell of seaweed meringue, to the petits fours, a superlight lemon Turkish delight, and a clever porcini mushroom fudge. The snacks gave way to a succession of delicately complex taste, texture and presentation wonders, some merely brilliant and others simply world-class and all accompanied by an exemplary choice of excellent wine. On the menu one word was allowed to give a clue as to the make-up of each dish. A full description requires a whole dictionary. â€œSaladâ€ was a super mix of dark and light green winter leaves plus charred broccoli, light sweet carrot and tasty savoury juices. â€œBeetrootâ€ was a masterly combination of yoghurt sorbet, pickled fennel, sweet beetroot risotto with soft and firm rice and pistachio for extra texture. â€œRainbow Troutâ€ from Mere Farm was brilliant confit fish combined with a crab bisque approaching perfection and coupled with delicate roe and loin, and some wonderful skin crisps - a real winner! â€œTurbotâ€ turned out to be a more than worthy successor to the unsurpassable Casamia version of sole VÃ©ronique which we had on our last visit, combining the best fish with a classy champagne sabayon, perfect grapes, perfect leeks matching the sabayon to produce a dish that would earn three stars on its own across the English Channel. We were so far under the spell of the kitchen that we were almost ready to accept that â€œDuckâ€ could be a simply cooked egg with apple cubelets, onion and a dashi sauce giving this â€œpalate cleanserâ€ an historic hit to the tastebuds, but it was swiftly followed by Creedy Carver duck breast from Devon, salt-brined and as tender and tasty as could be and cleverly supported by chia seed and fennel seed and a deft touch of coriander. The two desserts were â€œPassion fruitâ€ done three ways, accompanied by tarragon gel and meringue and knocking one back with the way it developed on the palate in such an amazing fashion, and â€œRhubarbâ€ just another demonstration of the enjoyable complexity which seems to be the norm at Casamia with delightful rhubarb sorbet and jelly and cubes, bay leaf crisp and cream, juniper shard and cream and rose gel, shard and cream, all adding up to a staggeringly good finish to yet another staggeringly good dining experience here."
"Exquisite. Incomparable. You might flinch at the prices, but that's for the best part of 4 hours of dining. If you measure it on that basis, it's better value than McDonalds. If there's a negative, it's that the "chef's table" isn't as close to the action in the new location as it was in Westbury."
Guinea St, Bristol, BS1 6SY
Fri & Sat 12.15pm to 1.30pm; Dinner Weds to Sat 6.30pm to 8.15pm
Last orders: 9.30 pm