Worth the long trip up north

THE casual courtyard at the back of Casa Nostra in eMdloti.

THE casual courtyard at the back of Casa Nostra in eMdloti.

Published Nov 21, 2023


Casa Nostra

Where: Shop 6, Marine Drive, Umdloti

Open: Daily noon to 10pm

Call: 031 568 1996

I had popped up north to see a friend’s new pad. He bought into the Gold Coast development in Sibaya. Yes, another one travels north.

Arjun’s folks, Vivek and the Poet, are there too. Over drinks the three of us give him advice, much of it conflicting, on how to decorate the place, and what improvements to make. He takes it in his stride. He’ll live in it and soon see what works.

And then it was dinner time.

I hadn’t been to Casa Nostra in a long time, and certainly not since the move to the new Salta development in eMdloti, which opened last year. And with Arjun feeling like pizza, I suggested we try it.

The new restaurant is a very comfortable and modern space. The weather was foul, the front couldn’t open up fully to spill out onto the pavement. Qadasi and Maqhinga were playing at Tightline opposite, and it would have been nice to hear them, but no, inside was a must. The wind would have drowned the maskandi duo out anyway.

GENEROUSLY topped Hawaiian pizza.

We were welcomed and asked if we’d like to sit in the courtyard. The poet shivered. That was until we discovered it out back. It’s completely covered and you wouldn’t know it even existed. It’s a comfy much more intimate space, sitting next to the vertical garden down the back wall. We liked it very much.

And apologies to readers, in switching over phones earlier this month, I lost the pictures. Those that appear here are taken from the restaurant’s Facebook page. I’m sure they do the food better justice than my humble photographic skills.

Vivek soon had a glass of good red in hand (sadly I was driving) and we decided to share starters. A very good carciofi (R129) from the daily specials menu, a baked artichoke dish in a thick bechamel. This was spectacular and worth the drive north. In fact I was tempted to order another round of it. The carpaccio (R189) was good and exactly as it should be, but I thought the price tag was expensive. We washed it all down with a good garlic and herb focaccia which was nice and crisp.

FRESH linefish cooked in the pizza oven.

Mains take in an array of pizza and pasta options, as well as some typical Italian inspired mains. I looked no further than the pesce del giorno, or fish of the day. It was rock cod and cooked in the pizza oven and served with good hand cut chips and a lovely lemon and caper sauce, but again I thought it was expensive at R299.

SEAFOOD pasta in a rich, creamy sauce.

The Poet tucked into a fillet steak (R289) which was cooked exactly to order. It came with a pleasant mushroom sauce, that for me could have had a bit more oomph, and a side salad, which at least has some interesting salad ingredients in it. Arjun was more than happy with his Hawaiian pizza (R149).

Vivek ordered the pasta del mare (R219) which included an array of different seafood – prawns, calamari and mussels – in a rich creamy sauce. He enjoyed it.

For dessert, Arjun enjoyed a good chocolate ice-cream (R99), he being something of a chocolate connoisseur, while the Poet and I shared an enjoyable tiramisu. This was one that at least has some booze and coffee in it, unlike the horror I’m going to share next week. (R99).

Food: 3 ½

Service: 3 ½

Ambience: 3 ½

The Bill: R1 782 which included only two glasses of wine.

Independent on Saturday