Casa Mia Osteria is BIG. Big on flavour and textures, perfection in simplicity.
The translation of Casa Mia is my home. So that's a pretty good starting point to explain the ethos and style of a restaurant that calls itself "a family restaurant". Located on the St. Peters end of King Street Newtown, just around the corner from St. Peters train station, the Casa Mia Osteria is usually popping - full of happy customers, many who have become regulars. This is no mean feat for the Italian restaurant that opened just (and I mean just) before lockdown.
When you want to find a great local restaurant the key is to find that place that delivers on all of the components of success. The food should taste great, be consistent and be well priced. Service should be fast and attentive with an uplifting positivity. Perhaps with a side of charm thrown in. If it's licensed (which Casa Mia Osteria is) you will want delicious beverages that match well with the food as well as finding something to match with your mood. And Casa Mia Osteria provides all of these in bucket loads. Which is not surprising given there is a co-owner - Andrea Nazzari - (previously bar manager of Tetsuya’s) on the floor, and a co-owner - Valerio Boncompagni - in the kitchen. Present owners are a great sign of reassurance to customers about restaurant quality.
The secret to great taste here is that Casa Mia Osteria makes everything, and I mean everything, in house - even the splendid range of very fine salumi. Their specialty is their supreme Pinsa Romana (Roman Pizza).
What is the secret of the Pinsa Romana? Roman Pizza is oval (not round) in shape, and customers enjoy friability (crunchy outside, soft inside), fragrance and digestibility (from several leavening techniques and 72 hour maturation), an original blend of wheat flour, rice flour, soy flour and dried mother yeast. Yet the main difference is in the flours and dough as Boncompagni explains:
“The dough is made of a mix of three 3 different flours (soy, rice, and wheat) that is fermented for 72 hours. As a result, the flavor is on a completely different level! It’s also super easy to digest thanks to several leavening-maturation techniques. Should we say it’s revolutionary?..."
I always taste test pizza with the classic Margherita to judge these things and this indeed is one of the just a few pizzas (correctly pizze) in Sydney I would keep coming back for. The offering here is lush and satisfying and truly without providing a pizza 'hangover'.
We also taste tested pastas which are amazing, because yet again the pasta is not only house made in the Casa Mia Osteria it is created through the penultimate copper extrusion, then dried for 24 hours. So when cooked it is perfectly timed to al dente and doesn't get that gluggy fresh feel.
Then there is the salumi and we have to command that you can't visit anywhere in Newtown without trying Valerio's lamb prosciutto. All of his cured meats are in a cabinet on display. And actually they are all exceptionally good. He's been interested in curing and drying meats since a child when an uncle (butcher) in Italy introduced him to it.
All of this may read simply, but like the test of an artist drawing a perfect circle, or the test of a chef making a perfect omelette - the food here though simple to the eye is rare to get to this perfect point, so exquisite in flavour and texture. Yes simplicity is the true and most challenging test of the chefs.
All of this needs some mighty fine beverages to match with the fabulous food, and Casa Mia Osteria delivers here too. Whether it be the en pointe house cocktails or wines from the list, of course with the pedigree that Andrea brings to the bar and your table you can expect the BIG bang here on flavour too.
Our top tip is that the venue is worth a visit for the cocktails! Our best three cocktail picks are the Mirti Sour, Silvio Carta myrtle liquor, rosemary syrup, lemon juice, egg white (divine autumn lushness); Casa Mia Gin and Tonic, Poor Toms gin infused pea flower, bergamot liquor, elderflower, lemon and tonic (a pretty purple arrival drink) and the Casa Mia Negroni, red vermouth, Campari, gin (which my sidekick Nicki The Negroni Crusader tells me - big call - is the best she's ever tasted.)
Go to Casa Mia Osteria with high expectations because they will meet them with the highest score, and you will have a deliciously good time. Bringing great company is your responsibility.