Our last post on Casamia (click here to read) was extensive so this time we will aim to be shorter. Needless to say, we haven't changed our opinion, believing that while Casamia already delivers a remarkable dining experience, this is a story with so much further to go. With the restaurant award season now upon us, do look out for them, for we hope and believe that Jonray & Peter will, deservedly, become household names sooner rather than later.
So, just three observations we want to make this go round. First, these are smart guys, coupled with one of the highest levels of culinary curiosity that you are ever likely to come across. They think hard and they think a lot. The result is obvious on the plate if you care to reflect on these things, though most of course will, not unreasonably, just tuck in. Everything is there for a reason, nothing is just making up the numbers and the tasting menu is not just a collection of (brilliant) dishes where the food relates simply to what's on the plate immediately in front of you, it relates also to what you've just had and what you will have next. The meal then is a complete narrative.
Second, and this is not unrelated to our first point, the balance of each plate is superb. It's finesse and craftsmanship. More often than not, each plate has one, maybe two of those little extras that just make it, lifting it above the ordinary. This might be flavour orientated, texture, or even temperature contrast, such as iced mint with the chilled broad bean soup. One senses a restless desire in them to make already great dishes better. No detail is too small (or ever overlooked), it's three star thinking.
Third, the cooking is spot on every time, there are simply no mistakes within the meal. In our Spring write up of Casamia, we commented how the main protein of lamb was so very good, so full of flavour that we never wanted to finish it. On the Summer menu, the main protein is duck and it was deja vu. Here, the duck is cooked sous vide, finished on the plancha to render the fat and honey is applied late not early, while fennel seeds deliver the final touches. Again, we find ourselves thinking it is the best tasting duck we've recorded on this blog. You can see that it looks right when it's set down in front of you, when you cut it, it feels right, and when you taste it, it's not just right, it's perfect.
Well, so much for only saying a few words, but it is a meal to get excited about and Jonray and Peter are chefs to get very excited about. We have been lucky enough to get to know them both a little during our visits, and as people, they are genuine, humble and massively inspirational. Indeed, for any young chefs who might be reading this blog, a visit to Casamia is a must not just for the food, but as an insight into both the creative and practical process of being a successful young chef in a food hungry but food critical world.
So how much do we like Casamia? We're already planning our return for the Autumn menu, it's that simple. And even just thinking about that fact, we're excited in anticipating what Jonray & Peter will be cooking up for us. Casamia understand the joy of food, and that's amazing, it makes you smile the whole day long.