Harden's survey result
“WOW!” – “every mouthful is wonderful and foodgasmic” at the Sanchez-Iglesias family’s “sensational” HQ: a “flawless experience” that has regularly won a place at the top of our list of the UK’s top 100 restaurants. It marries a “stunning, stone-walled venue” on the ground floor of the city-centre’s former General Hospital with “sublime” dishes from a twelve-course tasting menu, with the option of “perfectly matched wine flights”. Getting a reservation is no mean feat though: availability is released on the first Tuesday of each month at noon (UK time) for the period four months in advance! And even fans “dislike being required to pay (non-refundable) in advance at the time of booking”.
“By far the best that Bristol has to offer” and still one of the country’s most sought-after dining destinations; the Sanchez-Iglesias family’s “beacon of creative cuisine” nowadays occupies the ground floor of the city-centre’s redeveloped old General Hospital (below 200 luxury flats). The tasting menu shows “an attention to detail you don’t see in other fine dining restaurants” and “watching the teamwork in the open kitchen is amazing”. The cooking is intricate, with “lots of flavours on the plate”. But, perhaps “it’s the theatre and introduction by the chefs that really rounds off the experience”. Even the establishment’s most ardent fans, though, can “object to FULL payment at the time of booking”. To reserve you buy a ticket: tickets are released four months in advance [!], on the first Tuesday of each month at ‘noon UK time’. Drinks and other extras are then paid-for after the meal.
“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).
Casamia Restaurant Diner Reviews
"What is so impressive about Casamia is not just the combinations of ingredients producing visually attractive and novel taste experiences, but also the way dishes that have had similar predecessors are brought up to new, even more striking gustatory levels by the clever intensification of various elements. There is an excellent wine list and a well-chosen selection of wines by the glass on which you get expert advice from Tom, the sommelier. The menu is brevity itself, giving no clue as to the clever interaction of the main, listed, ingredient and its supporting cast, which contrasts with the sometimes over-populated descriptions found elsewhere, and is more than compensated for by the detailed, helpful, explanations from the chefs who serve their own work or the equally qualified front of house staff led by the amiable expertise of Joe, the restaurant manager. A clever snack of 36-month old Parmegiano tartlet made with 12 year old balsamico led into a delightful prawn meringue with coriander leaves and then beef tartare with mustard and nasturtium leaves and a chilli punch. Trout mousse with fish belly, spiced roe and yuzu, light but striking came next, and then a second trout dish, loin and Chinese winter truffle, trout skin crisps and trout dashi with contrasting lime. Beautifully lightly cured Cornish cod on a buttery champagne sabayon with a generous portion of winter truffle followed. Lamb with its stock, egg and spice provided a pre-main to superb low temperature slow-roast lamb perfectly rested and lavishly accompanied by chestnut and mushroom purée and fantastic rendered fat, black garlic and sauce. Another adventurous approach to the traditional main course. The palate cleanser - sweet lemon sorbet on dry caramelized sugar overlying smooth custard made for quite amazing contrasts and then it was into the restaurant’s take on millefeuille which just dissolved on the tongue to give a lovely vanilla match for the Yorkshire rhubarb reduction. The finale to this outstanding meal was the restaurant’s trademark superlight madeleines. Top class as usual, with the one slight negative for us being the increase in the volume of the background music, and this in the name of “deformalisation”. Quite unnecessary! Dining experience rating: 18/20"
"Dining at Casamia provokes a new wave of enthusiasm every time we visit. What is so impressive about Casamia is not just the combinations of ingredients producing visually attractive and novel taste experiences, but also the way dishes that have had similar predecessors are brought up to new, even more striking gustatory levels by the clever intensification of various elements. There is an excellent wine list and a well-chosen selection of wines by the glass on which you get expert advice from the sommelier. The menu is brevity itself, giving no clue as to the clever interaction of the main, listed, ingredient and its supporting cast, which contrasts with the sometimes over-populated descriptions found elsewhere, and is more than compensated for by the detailed, helpful, explanations from the chefs who serve their own work or the equally qualified front of house staff. A clever snack of 36-month old Parmegiano led into a delightful seaweed meringue with sweet Cornish prawns and then Yorkshire pudding à la Casamia with steak tartare and mustard and nasturtium leaves and a slight kick from a touch of tabasco. A trout skin wafer came with trout mousse, all lightness yet standing strong, and then a second trout dish - a fish canvas with firm but yielding roe and a marvellous dashi jelly bringing it all together. Even more trout was then matched in formidable fashion with subtle Exmoor caviar and an intense langoustine bisque before we moved to superb Cornish cod on a buttery champagne sauce providing a devastatingly good nose to match the well-dosed lemon oil on the fish. Lamb with its stock, capsicum and Japanese yuzu gave us a good approach to brilliant lamb with its fat and deep juice accompanied with Hungarian truffle, mild cucumber and welcome bread to soak up the juices. A suitable palate cleanser in the form of lemon custard and sorbet with a lemon crisp was followed by the restaurant’s take on millefeuille which just dissolved on the tongue to give a lovely vanilla match for the strawberry reduction. The delicious meal was rounded off with superlight madeleines in bowls made of sugar. Wonderful stuff!"
|Wine per bottle||£23.50|
The General, Lower Guinea St, Bristol, BS1 6FU
|Wednesday||6:45 pm‑8:15 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6:45 pm‑8:15 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6:45 pm‑8:15 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6:15 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑1:30 pm|