Busy lifestyles in the 21st century don’t always allow for family dinners where everyone sits around the table for a leisurely couple of hours enjoying each other’s company, food and drink.
That’s why Casa Roberta in Ealing have launched their so-called ‘Domenica Italiana’ (Italian Sunday), aiming to honour the Italian tradition of having a big family lunch at least once a week.
The concept is to bring several dishes for people to share, and not discriminate between what adults and children dig into, as in Italy there is no such thing as a kids menu, I am told.
So what they do at this quaint restaurant in St Mary’s Road, is serve three courses to your table without you choosing what comes.
My friend and I decided to embrace this way of eating, and embarked on our surprise feast.
As appetisers, we were given a board of Italian cheeses including taleggio, wine pecorino, goat’s cheese and gongorzola, hams including parma ham, mortadella, roman salame and lonza, and olives from Cerignola, a town close to Rome.
The cheeses were all rich in flavour and salt. I can’t vouch for the hams (being a veggie) but was told they were all really nice and a good selection was chosen. The green olives were huge- I’ve rarely seen them so big and juicy.
Also part of the appetisers was a plate of tempura vegetables and suppli, fried rice balls with mozerella and tomato sauce inside.
I personally am not a fan of tempura vegetables as I think the coating ruins the freshness of the vegetables, but that’s just personal taste. The suppli was an interesting new thing for me to try and I really liked the small doses of heartiness.
Fresh mussels cooked in white wine and chilli formed part of the spread of starters, which were a good addition as they were not too filling but were good quality mussels and a bit of a treat.
The final thing to start the meal was a mixed salad, which is changed every week depending on what products are around at the market.
Every Sunday the main meal is usually a pasta dish to share. We had a mixed seafood pasta bowl- probably family sized but because it was so delicious we managed to polish most of it off between the two of us.
Casa Roberta offers five different chocolate fondue flavours with marshmallows and fruit for dessert. I thought this was quite an original idea and imagine it would go down well with young ones.
Everything is always cooked from scratch on premises using fresh ingredients, and although it’s supposed to be a set menu, the chef accommodates customers’ dietry requirements and requests,
The price for the whole feed is a bargain £15.99 for adults and £7.50 for kids.
Casa Roberta has a real family feel, is comfortable, extremely friendly and warm. So, if you haven’t already, use it as an excuse to get the family together and get into the spirit of Domenica Italiana.