Gustul Casei, the island’s first Romanian style eatery to date, is every bit as inviting as its name, and with a menu that boasts a diverse blend of distinctive dishes, compiling recipes from several traditions and generations, it’s certainly living up to its unique status.
The restaurant itself occupies a quaint, rustic room, with windows that divulge a panoramic vista of the marina and beyond. But it’s the venue’s homely ambience and hearty yet healthy gastronomic offerings that make dining in Gustul Casei, a little like feasting in another’s welcoming abode – a cosy one at that. Of course, with a name that translates to ‘A Taste of Home’, this all makes perfect sense.
Comprising a range of authentic, home-cooked Romanian plates together with a selection of international dishes and pastries, the menu’s indulgent offerings are suited to even the most discerning of diners.
From tapas-style platters at £2 to £5 a plate, to generous mains in the low teens, the chef’s tempting selections are all lovingly prepared, some of the dishes are even steeped in herbs, spices and juices for over 24 hours!
The Decebal’s Tapas Platter, an ideal sharing plate, consists of a tower of meats in the shape of salami, sausage, ham, pickles, bread and olives. For diners who prefer a vegetarian option, Romanian Field Treasures are guaranteed to suffice; comprising a trio of traditional homemade dips including a dish derived from a Russian salad and an aubergine stew gloriously adulterated with smoky aromas and accompanied with lightly toasted, homemade bread.
Forget fussy and finicky, this surprisingly light, Mediterranean-style fare uses ingredients straight from the land: tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and cabbage to name but a few. From bean crock suffused with smoked pork served in its very own house of bread, to sour chicken soup with a dollop of cream, there’s something to suit all tastebuds and also, all time scales. Alongside their customary lunches, Gustul Casei also offer an Express Lunch Menu, perfectly suited to those with only an hour to spare, as the food comes with a guaranteed arrival time of 20 minutes for tables of up to four people.
Gustal Casei are similarly happy to entertain large bookings and private parties for up to 45 people – it comes as little surprise that they’ve already earned a series of great reviews on TripAdvisor
For mains, choose from the famous specialty of stuffed cabbage leaves brimming with smoked pork, rice, onions, herbs and paprika – a legacy in Romania, or alternatively, a dish that has been dubbed Burebista’s Crown – slowly cooked pork ribs fittingly presented in the shape of a crest.
Then there’s the deliciously tender Hunter’s Stew, which comprises 12 hour marinated wild boar, doused in garlic and laced with red wine and herbs – the meat, which is both rosy and aromatic, falls to pieces as soon as it touches the tongue.Other must-try mains, many of which hold historical titles, include the Warrior’s Arrows – marinated chicken or beef skewers, Sarmizegetusa Fortress – a tower of crispy bread topped with soft cheese, herbs and smoked salmon or Shepherd’s Pride – warm Romanian cheeses in breadcrumbs, served with a side of tangy tomato chutney.
Alongside an encyclopedic menu, there are also a number of taste-tantalising specials to choose from – an ideal option for diners who wish to try even more of what Romanian cuisine has to offer.
The place is an emporium of chatter -– the Romanian culture is all about sharing, convulsing and really enjoying the food. The generous portions are prepared with care by an intuitive and unpretentious chef, whose food is both sensible and seductive. Local and organic ingredients are given a Romanian twist, each dish influenced by repeated waves of different cultures.
A refreshingly guileless restaurant, free of pomposity and unashamedly committed to its food.