10 months ago

Cassio Restaurant and Pizzeria: Buon appetito!

PSA: You can do better than Pizza Express. Ditch the chains and go for something really and truly authentic. Cassio is the place.

Cassio Restaurant and Pizzeria has been serving Tooting for so long that you may well have wandered past it without properly noticing it. Having been on Tooting Bec Road for over 12 years, it really has earned its stripes in Tooting. It’s not only authentically Italian, but it’s authentically local too and we love it for that as much as we love it for its excellent food.

What we really appreciate about the menu at Cassio is that it isn’t pretentious in the slightest. In the way that only Italian places can, it manages to be extensive, not overly complex and extremely tempting all at the same time. In a London food scene where the trend is for shorter and smaller menus, there is something nostalgic and charming about being presented with a huge list. It was hard to choose between the antipasti, pesce, carne, pasta, risotto, pizza and sides… but we gave it our best shot.

Antipasti were classic: a really fresh tricolore is an easy must-order for us, and this didn’t disappoint. Fresh, well seasoned tomatoes with creamy mozzarella and avocado really showed off the ethos of Cassio- simple done well. We also got a plate of the sauté di cozze e vongole, which was a plate of fresh mussels and clams in a white wine sauce with a kick of chilli. It was an absolute belter! Probably our star dish of the evening, the sauce won us over in a heartbeat. But what a way to begin the meal: one fresh, one luxurious, a really nice duo of starters share between two.

For the mains we then went for the pappardelle dello chef: freshly made tagliatelle with spinach, artichokes and mushrooms, garnished with a splash of truffle oil. Again, this was a schooling in how to make simple ingredients really sing. The pasta itself was some of the best we’d had and the touch of truffle really lifted the whole thing. We were in the mood for pasta so also got the tortelloni al pesto genovese, which was a ricotta and spinach tortelloni accompanied by a zingy basil pesto. A real taste of Italy- eating this it was easy to forget we were perched in a restaurant in Tooting, not Northern Italy. And it would have been a crime to leave anything on our plates, so to soak up all that extra sauce the garlic pizza bread had to be ordered. We recommend you do the same.

What a gorgeous, gorgeous place Cassio is. If you need some proper, comforting Italian food then go here. It’s extremely well priced for the quality (and quantity) for what you get and the atmosphere itself is worth the trip. You’ll leave feeling like you’ve been cuddled by an Italian nonna.

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