Casoni. is a new(ish) Sydney Italian restaurant which is currently owning the modern Italian food game. Tucked away behind the craziness that is Taylor Square sits this little Italian restaurant. Its white exterior and cute outdoor area look almost out of place in this rough and ready part of town. We head down to Casoni. to see what’s cookin’.
Owned by the same guys who served up some of Sydney’s best Spanish food at Foley Lane Tapas, they decided that after two years of creating authentic Spanish cuisine it was time to tackle another delicious food country—Italy. In the kitchen you’ll find Lachlan Robinson (ex-Pendolino, Icebergs and Melbourne’s Caterina’s Cucina e Bar) cooking up fresh daily pastas, risotto, meatballs, and desserts.
It’s all about sharing here at Casoni., which we are always down with (it means you can try more food). Firstly, we go for the ocean trout carpaccio with dill (but not too much dill), sour cream, pickled cucumber, and a caper dressing. It was fresh, light, and a perfect way to start us on our eating journey.
Out come the spiced meatballs, which are rich, covered in cheese (always a good thing) and served with crispbread. It’s after we devour the meatballs that we wish we had some more bread to mop up the slightly spicy tomato sauce because we really didn’t want the dish to end (another good sign).
Onto larger dishes, we order the pumpkin ravioli, chilli and saffron risotto, and the fresh pasta of the day (potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu). You know when you have a dish that is so good, you daydream about it for weeks afterward? This happened for us with the pumpkin ravioli with pistachios, burnt butter and sage sauce. It’s a classic combination of Italian ingredients done so, so right and most certainly a dish we’ll order time and time again.
Sitting oh-so temptingly atop of the chilli and saffron risotto are a generous amount of pan-fried scallops and crispy guanciale (an Italian cured meat made from pork cheeks). The risotto is perfectly cooked and the saltiness of the guanciale combined with the butteriness of the scallops is a match made in food heaven.
If the daily pasta special is available when you’re there, do yourself a favour and order it. We don’t even care what it is—just order it because it will be interesting and most likely damn good. On the menu the night we were there was a potato gnocchi made fresh that day with a wild boar ragu. Now, don’t be scared by wild boar—it’s really just a version of pig—and pig is a tasty, tasty meat.
Onto dessert, we skip the cheese board and go straight to the cannoli and the salted caramel semifreddo. The cannoli are filled with a sweetened ricotta and chocolate filling and are sweet without being sickly. The salted caramel semifreddo comes with pistachio brittle and we love the kick of salt with each bite.
With a good selection of Australian and Italian wines available and negroni and Aperol spritz on tap, you won’t go thirsty at Casoni. Pro-tip: Head in before 6.30pm to take advantage of their happy hour, which includes $9 Aperol spritzes, and $6 Peronis.
Casoni. has certainly won us over with their top-notch Italian menu, excellent service and negronis on tap. If you’re a fan of solid Italian food, we suggest you head down to Casoni. pronto.
Image credit: Casoni.