Friday, July 13, 2012

Date Night at the Romantic Bistro Casanova

I was invited to an intimate dinner at Bistro Casanova, by the Marketing Head of its BGC branch, Mark de Jesus. Very well aware that he would be feeding me 'til the cows come home (or until I turn into one, whichever came first), I brought Jericho along with me for the gastronomic roller-coaster ride.

Bistro Casanova is a casual side-street Italian resto-bar, a stones throw away from the noise and the crowds of Burgos Circle at BGC. I always pass by this place whenever I'd have a craving for Indian food and eat at Namaste or getting my Korean fix at the grocery next door. I had never really paid the quaint Bistro Casanova much mind until tonight.

Looking around, you can’t help but notice their vast collection of wine and other liquors to choose from when wanting to get socially crunk. It isn't a surprise that most of their clientele are expats - they’re hoarding all the good stuff - mostly a lot of nice reds and lots of whiskey. I only wished they had bottles of good Riesling stashed away here as well.

We passed the time waiting for our food, merrily chatting with Mark and admiring the focal point of the bistro – a colorful mural of Venice, complete with gondolas, piazzas in the distance with couples enjoying a sunset ride.

The night of gastronomic debauchery started with complimentary Bruschetta – a simple antipasto of roasted bread with a tomato, onions, cucumber, cilantro, and Parmesan dip. You know you’re in for an authentic Italian meal when they know how to make bruschetta! Jericho and I were as giddy as schoolchildren for what was to come!

The next appetizer we got to try was the Pachino Ripieno Crosta Di Pizza (P360) – cherry tomatoes stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella rolled in pizza dough and blanketed with parma ham. I absolutely loved this! Biting into the warm pizza ball you are happily surprised biting into the bright, juicy cherry tomato in the middle.

Taking a break from all things Italian, and wanting a little Greek in our salad, we opted for Bistro Casanova‘s Itaca Salad (P235) – a merry mix of lettuce, red onion, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, and olives in a simple dressing of EVOO and balsamic vinegar. The crunch of the lettuce served as a backdrop for the spicy red onions, the salty feta and olives, and the sweet cucumbers and tomatoes balancing everything out.

The Capelli D’Angelo Al Tartufo Asparagini E Speck (P395) was the first pasta dish that came out – home made angel hair pasta with truffle cream asparagus and cured ham. The truffle oil just frickin' sings in your mouth! I couldn't get enough of this pasta, with the asparagus giving a nice crunch to the dish, and the soft curls of parma ham giving the dish a bit more flavor. I'll definitely come back for this pasta!

Another pasta dish we quite enjoyed was the Ravioli Verdi Di Cotta Spinaci (P395) – freshly-made ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese in a tomato sauce. The ravioli itself has a really nice bite, cooked al dente, complementing the tomato base, which was really creamy with bits and pieces of mushroom and garlic. I just wished it was stuffed a little better, it seemed a bit flat. Still, it was executed really, really well!

Jericho and I couldn't decide on one flavor of pizza, so we settled for the Quatro Stagioni (P490), which is a mix of all their best-selling pizza flavors on a 14″ pizza . There was Boscaiola, mushroom and ham; Napoli, anchovies and mozzarella; Frutti Di Mare, seafood, and Casanova, parma ham and arugula. The pizza was baked to perfection with just the right amount of chewiness in each bite.

I managed to finish off a slice of the Casanova, and then just stared at the pizza as Jericho and Mark helped themselves to a slice as well.

The highlight of our dinner was Bistro Casanova’s Filleto Al Barolo (P865) – a classic beef tenderloin in red wine sauce. The steak was cooked medium rare, and was a lovely shade of pink inside. We tried to sop up the red wine sauce, savoring every bite. The steak was well seasoned and cooked to perfection, but it was the red wine sauce gave the steak the flavor we couldn't get enough of.

We ended our lovely dinner with a simple, light Tiramisu Classico (P195). The taste of the coffee, liquor and cocoa dominated the palate, which we just devoured, even thought we were stuffed and ready to explode. Most of the tiramisu desserts I've tried lacked that oomph that makes tiramisu, tiramisu - but not this one.

We had such a great time at Bistro Casanova, we can't wait to go back! I have truffle oil pasta on the brain, and Jericho is looking forward to the Diablo Steak Mark was raving about. The resto-bar is a welcome escape from the crowded Bistro Circle, I think you'll find me here more often. Oh, and their cocktails are half the price of those at the Fort Strip! Lemon Drop shots, anyone?

Bistro Casanova
+63 2 846 4957 or +63 926 742 1571
G/F Kensington Place Condominium,
1st Avenue, Burgos Circle,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Open Daily: 11am – 10pm