Review: Cafe Casa Mia–Italian at heart

Casa Mia’ which means “my house” in Italian is an Italian restaurant which may well be worth making your home!

A step out of the usual western line, is one restaurant that makes the central line and R-Mall in particular worth a visit. Catch a movie at Big Cinema’s latest movie multiplex but do not have a single bite of those ‘big offers’ if you really want to dissect your palate on some mind crunching Italian delicacies.

The huge glass doors with one that forms the entrance to a three part restaurant welcomes you into a cafe with off course, …coffee and books while the second part seats you in a Mediterranean diner from where you can see a lounge with a bar tucked in the corner.SchoolPizzaMartini glass

While the Cafe gives you a pedestrian sit out feel with a view to passers-by peering into the warm yellow inside, your coffee can keep you engrossed in the Italian culinary section or the reference books that are housed in the magazine rack.

”, says that he started Casa Mia with authentic Italian cuisine that Italians would find sourced out of an Italian la casa. However, the Indians are overwhelming; when it comes to exerting their alimentary influence and Casa Mia now serves Italian cuisine which has increased Indian patronage.

The wine list also took a turn from the docks to Nasik, albeit, not withstanding home grown vineyards are favoured over the commercial brands.  The lounge also houses rock bands to events that involve young artists entertaining the rest-o-folk on event days.

DSC_0316Casa Mia has a young and energetic design combined with culinary class all brought together next to Reliance Big Cinema on the 3rd floor of R-City Mall. The logo is colourful and a perfect blend, pretty much similar to how the flavours of the food are blended in Italian, Mediterranean and a few pickings from world cuisine. Gianfrancesco tells me his Indian wife helped design the place through her design experiences at London, which explains the amount of interest in the warmth you feel in this place which tells you to Eat, Drink and chill!

For starters, you might just pick the Cajun chicken if you like your masala toppings, else you could dig into a ‘Prawn Tempura’ to taste the Japanese perfection in the blade of herb manifestation. I chose a Wasabi prawns that was all prawn sans wasabi! Sad smile A starter is to apprise you of taste and not the meal. Casa Mia starters can do just that, choose carefully or take the suggestion of the young waiters.

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Check the table pop-ups for the ‘days special’ and offers, trust me they are specially made for this day. You can never go wrong with a ‘ or a ‘pizza’ that comes out a specially imported Italian pizza oven.

Gian loves his mozzarella and la casa cheese is always the best cheese. So sink your teeth into anything that hoists up on cheese and you will not be disappointed.

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Pastas, lasagnes or just plain stuffed capsicum can make you wonder what you did without Casa Mia!

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Whatever you choose Casa Mia has their makings of flavour that will give you a craving for italian cuisine. While Gian spent a lot of time with us explaining how he started Casa Mia and kept its change in line with customer delight, I found his musings truthfully Italian at heart. We even pulled a few italiano jokes on him but he was a true sport. Do not miss his dessert specials cause they may not be authentically Italian but definitely prove this Cafe’s culinary prowess.

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Casa Mia is not highly priced and ensures that a meal can be had within a movie goers budget. There is hardly a need for reservation on a week day, however a weekend may find you exploring R-City Mall to the last movie at the Cinema.


Vegan for a day

‘Vegan for a day’ is a challenge organised by Harini of Tongue Ticklers  (I’ve met her couple of times in many blogger events and really admire her photography skills) in collaboration with Preethi and Srinivas of Kyra (they sell natural detergents which is chemical-free and certified organic too).
Harini has interviewed them in her blog, so hop on to her blog first to read about these lovely entrepreneurs and don’t forget to come back and read my experience with being Vegan for a day 🙂

I’ve always believed that most of our indian or everyday cooking is mostly vegan unless you add ghee or butter. So I decided to take up the challenge and wanted to test my will power for a day.
My daily ritual in the morning is to have a cup of milk tea. Only when I took up the challenge, I realized that milk in my morning tea is such a big deal. Tea without milk kinda made my day seem dull. I immediately shook myself out of any  negative feelings and was looking forward to the challenge.
I usually don’t eat any breakfast (I know it’s  a bad thing but I’m lazy to cook or go into  the kitchen in the morning). If I’m hungry before lunch I munch on some dry or fresh fruits.

Lunch was simple with some varan bhaat (dal and rice) with alu bhajji and chilli pickle. Dal was made simple with some gur (jaggery) and seasoned with hing (asafoetida) and cumin seeds in oil. Alu were sautéed till golden brown and seasoned with some salt and chilli powder.

I had a little sweet craving in the afternoon and I decided to make a 5 Minute Microwave Cake  (recipe given below) to have it with my evening black tea.

Dinner was simple carried in a dabba to office (ah an enterpreneur’s life). Sautéed Mushroom served on a bed of organic wheat couscous seasoned with paprika, black peppercorns and garnished with fresh basil.

5 Minute Microwave Cake

Recipe has been adapted and been modified from a fellow blogger and a good friend Madhuri of Cook-curry Nook.

1 1/2 cup All purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar (preferably raw sugar)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2tbs flax seed powder mixed with 1 cup of warm water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 2tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt

Sift all dry ingredients together like the flour,baking soda, baking powder, vanilla powder twice and transfer to a bowl.
Add sugar and stir well. Stir in water, flax seed, chocolate chips and oil and mix really well. The batter must have a ribbon like texture.
Pour the batter into a greased microwave safe dish – glass or plastic.
Now cook the cake on high (900W) for 5 minutes.

Once down allow it to cool completely and try piercing fork, tooth pick or knife to check for wetness. The cake will be done if there is no residue left on any of the devices that you use for testing.
Cut them into desired pieces and have it with tea or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can negate adding chocolate sauce as the chips do the trick 😉

Verdict:  I was  travelling to Bangalore and thought that it would be a great idea to give a taste to my mother and sis in law as they are very new to the concept of vegan. They were surprised that there was no milk or butter and yet it tasted so good. I’ve tried the same recipe with milk and butter and believe me there’s not much of a difference between the two.

Vegan for a day was a challenge that made me realize that it takes a lot more of will power and determination to stay away from things that you have been brought up with. Kudos to Harini, Preethi and Srinivas for being an inspiration to many others….