One down, 39 to go…

It was my birthday yesterday, so to kick start my 40 things before 40 list, I did one straight away!

Pretty good going I thought. It will make up for the fact that the other 39 get done in the last six months before my fortieth.

Normally when my mum asks me what I want for my birthday, I am less than helpful. “Just buy me something exquisite and charming,” I say. She tends to look doubtful. This year though I knew exactly what to say. “I’d like to have lunch in a Michelin star restaurant please,” I said. It sounded a tad on the grabby side, but better than asking for a holiday to Iceland I thought. Plus that way we could have lunch together. Quality Mother and Daughter time and all that.

So yesterday lunchtime we set off to Casamia in Westbury-on-Trym. I put on my best shoes specially and even brushed my hair. It was all very fancy.

We were shown to our table by a very polite but perhaps a little lacking in personality waitress. She didn’t even really laugh much at my joke about the cultured butter going to the theatre more often than regular butter. I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at that? I was hilarious! Still, they are probably more refined waitresses than you get in Pizza Hut.

At Casamia, the dining experience is as important as the food, so part of the kitchen is within the restaurant and you can watch the chef putting together your dishes. For every course, the chef himself brings you your food and explains exactly what it is and is happy to answer any questions you have about your food. I kept my butter joke to myself with the chef.

We started out meal with seeded leaven bread and the theatre-going butter, which is all home made at Casamia. It was delicious. Obviously.

Seeded bread and cultured butter

We had opted for the shorter lunch menu, (although the people on the table next to us had the longer option so we could peer at theirs too), and our first course was a beetroot and goat’s cheese tart. It was possibly the smallest tart I have ever seen, but absolutely beautiful. The beetroot flavour coming from the case was fantastic.

Beetroot and goats cheese tart

Next we had a spelt and parsley risotto, topped with some puffed up crunchy spelt and micro-parsley. You know a restaurant is classy if it serves micro anything. I love parsley, and this was one of my favourite dishes.

Spelt and parsley risotto

Then we the fish course – John Dory with a slither of apple and lemon jelly, topped with seasonal vegetables and a beautiful cider and cream sauce.

John Dory

Next up was our ‘transitional’ course, bridging the gap between sweet and savoury. We ate a tiny carrot cake, topped with fresh and freeze-dried carrot and crunchy thyme ice-cream. This was absolutely amazing, and made all the more exciting by the fact that the ice-cream was bought separately to the table in a steaming pan, icy cold.

Carrot cake

Finally then, pudding – rhubarb fool. I absolutely love rhubarb, and the flavour from this was incredible – all of the rhubarbyness but none of that sourness that you often get from rhubarb. The topping here is toasted marshmallows and juniper shards.

Rhubarb fool

Eating such small portions did make me think a bit more about my normal eating habits, and our habits generally in the UK. When eating out particularly, the emphasise is quite often on quantity rather than quality – think all you can eat pizza buffets, unlimited salads – yet at the end of my lunch I was genuinely full. I couldn’t help but imagine a massive pub meal piled up next to a delicate goats cheese tart and feel a little bit disgusted with myself.

So there we go.

They let me take a menu home for my scrapbook (yes I am 35 now, not 5, honest), and that’s one thing ticked off my list. Only 39 more to go…



  1. 26 April, 2013 / 8:22 am

    Omg!!! Sounds bloody amazing! Happy belated birthday to you too!
    I thought the butter joke was spiffing, but then I am prone to laughing at my own jokes too…

    I’m 40 in 2 weeks… The thought makes me vomit! Ahhhhhh!

    Aging disgracefully,
    Sarah x

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:25 am

      Life begins at 40 remember! Embrace it :-)

  2. Tanya Rocks
    26 April, 2013 / 8:37 am

    Amazing morsels! Photogenic food. Beautiful pictures.

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:25 am

      Thank you! I was pretty pleased with the photos considering they were only on my phone. I think my mum did think I was a bit odd though taking pictures of my food! Luckily the people on the table next to us were doing it too! (Although not quite as much…)

  3. 26 April, 2013 / 11:17 am

    Lucky you! It all looks delish!

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:24 am

      It was :-)

  4. Nesbo
    26 April, 2013 / 11:41 am

    Nice! And happy birthday for yesterday.

    Jo (not you) took me to The Hand and Flowers for my Christmas prezzie. IT WAS AMAZING…

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:24 am

      Thanks! Where’s the Hand and Flowers then?

  5. 26 April, 2013 / 12:42 pm

    Happy Birthday to you! Must go there myself sometime. Hope the rest of your day was just as smashing! xx

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:23 am

      You must! You could ask loads of sensible food questions instead of just making butter jokes.

  6. 26 April, 2013 / 1:43 pm

    The butter joke was fantastic. I’m certain she was laughing (on the inside – where it counts).
    I’ve never heard of the chef bringing out the dishes…exciting :)
    Happy Birthday!!

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:22 am

      It was a really nice touch. Some of the sauces he added at the table too, which was lovely and made it feel really special.

  7. 26 April, 2013 / 2:01 pm

    Definitely sounds like a special meal for your special celebration. Hope you had a great birthday and sounds like the food was up to scratch ;-). You make a good point about portion sizes, I guess it’s a case of quality over quantity in a nice restaurant like that.

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:23 am

      Definitely. And I didn’t feel like I wanted more at the end either. I think too the spacing helped – you weren’t just wolfing down a whole plate at once, so your tummy had time to realise it was getting full.

  8. 27 April, 2013 / 7:37 pm

    Happy Birthday and glad you enjoyed your meal. We love fancy restaurants, might have to start checking out the lunch menus as evening don’t seem to suit us too well at the moment! Bee x

    • admin
      29 April, 2013 / 9:21 am

      Lunch was ideal – it was really quiet AND much cheaper if you lunch in the week!

  9. 29 April, 2013 / 9:47 am

    My husband would cry at that menu & demand a huge steak. I bet it was a lovely day.

  10. 11 August, 2013 / 8:10 am

    Oh great, now I’m hungry :))

  11. 25 February, 2014 / 8:01 pm

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