Feel the warmth at Casa Tua – a rare ingredient

  • Food and Drink
 
Feel the warmth at Casa Tua – a rare ingredient

Published:

Fri, 11/11/2016 - 13:10

By:

paul
Casa Tua’s new corner site in Cromer Street
Casa Tua’s new corner site in Cromer Street
Published: 
10 November, 2016
by TOM MOGGACH

IT'S almost like the Rover’s Return” gushes the lady on the next table, alluding to the neighbourly atmosphere of the Coronation Street pub.

Her friend, sitting opposite, appears equally upbeat – claiming this café and restaurant in King’s Cross has “everything you want”.

So where is this miracle? You’ll find Casa Tua tucked away in Cromer Street, a few streets south from the train station. 

It’s run by an Italian called Giuseppe Miggiano. There are four things you should know about this man. First, he’s from Puglia, the heel of Italy. Second, he mixes a mean cocktail. Third, he’s got a natural gift for hospitality – creating a warm welcome. And, finally, he sports the most distinctive handlebar moustache in north London. 

Giuseppe opened the first, smaller branch of Casa Tua in Royal College Street in Camden back in 2013. Now this original branch is packed most days, despite its low-key location – a success built on hard graft rather than flash publicity or deep pockets. 

I’m no fan of TripAdvisor, but it speaks volumes that as I write 147 of the 160 reviews of Casa Tua award the full five stars. All the rest settle for four. 

This new outpost in King’s Cross is much larger. It’s a corner site – vast windows, lots of light and extra space downstairs. The white walls are simply decorated with trailing plants, framed prints and a vintage bicycle hung up for good measure. 

This Casa Tua opens all day from 9am, except for Sundays and Monday evenings. It warms up in the morning by serving coffee, breakfast and brunch before shifting into ciabatta sandwiches, salads and full-blown meals.

When Casa Tua first started, the food was more generic Italian. Now the focus in both branches is firmly on Puglia in the south. 

The wines merit a special mention. The new manager in King’s Cross previously worked as a sommelier in posh restaurants. 

Alfonso’s first mission was to revamp the wine list: “I want to offer something different. I don’t have Pinot Grigio – I have a Bombino. I don’t have a Montepul­ciano – we have a Negroamaro.”

The food menu, too, is full of character. The bestseller is slow-cooked octopus with potatoes and celery, served in a traditional earthenware pot. It’s comfort food of the highest order, ideal for these chilly November evenings. (Although the stewed lentils ran a close second.) 

You’ll also find pastas, meatballs, bruschetta, onion soup and an excellent parmigiana. 

But I suggest exploring off piste. There’s a riff on lasagne, served with celeriac and turmeric – a favourite spice from the chef’s travels. For a salad, blankets of smoked salmon are given a cunning second cure in citrus juices then folded over quinoa with a broccoli pesto. 

Prices are keen. The food is decent. Casa Tua is a five-minute walk to escape the crowds of King’s Cross. But it’s the atmosphere that sparkles. There’s a genuine warmth here that comes from the heart – a rare, precious ingredient in these unsettled times. 

CASA TUA KING'S CROSS
106 Cromer St, WC1H
020 7833 1483
@casatuakx

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