Ides of March: Bella Casa

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Noble Savage (he said)
We recently took a trip to Bloemfontein to visit some family, and decided to head out one afternoon for lunch. Bloem is not exactly the best place to open a restaurant; most here don’t see their second birthday. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but in my 11 years living there, I’ve seen my fair share of restaurants closing down. One Bloem restaurant that is apparently standing the test of time is Bella Casa.

By my calculation, Bella Casa has been around in Bloem for almost 10 years. I remember going there in my student days, but admittedly was not used to much back then (my diet consisted mainly of Tassenberg and Lucky Strike Filters). I vaguely recall having a pizza (probably the cheapest), but not much else.
The restaurant is an old converted house – many of the houses in Westdene have been converted to Businesses. The wooden floors and high pressed ceilings welcomed us in. Because it’s quite an old house, the walls couldn’t just be torn down, and the seating areas are divided into the different rooms. I quite like this, as it gives the place a more personal feel, as if you’re in a friend’s dining room.

All the wines on their wine list are available per glass. This just makes more sense, as you can sample various wines without getting absolutely shit-faced. And they have some pretty decent wines, for a fraction of Gauteng prices (e.g. R70 per glass for Chocolate Block, which I last paid in 2011). The menu is filled with standard Italian fare, with a few interesting combinations around. I had a hankering for a pizza, so decided to go for my patented quality-tester choice: the seafood pizza.

The pizza is topped with the regulars: prawn tails, calamari, garlic, and chilli. But then they also add anchovies, which I haven’t really seen on seafood pizzas before. And I fucking love anchovies! The salt works very well with almost sweetness of the prawns, and slight bite of chilli rounds off the whole thing. The menu suggests pairing it with a Sauvignon Blanc, which I think might be too light for the anchovies. Instead, I went for one of my favourites – The Spier Creative Block 3. It stood up against the anchovies, but did not overpower the other flavours.

If you’re considering stopping over in Bloem, I can really recommend Bella Casa. There are other decent restaurants in Bloem (e.g. Seven on Kelner), so you don’t have to go to one of the thousand Spurs that litter the area. Bloem has great food, you just have to know where to look.


Boozy Foodie (she said):

Noble Savage has been talking about Bella Casa ever since we met – almost 7 year ago – so it took us long enough to finally have a meal there.

And I was honestly pleasantly surprised!  The service, variety of menu items and wine list was really quite impressive!  As mentioned by NS, the option to have a large selection of wine by the glass makes pairing the wine with whatever you decide to order, must more of an adventure.  So a big thumbs up!

And I was also thrilled to see the Italian favourite, the Aperol Spritz, on the menu!  Oh yay, the ideal way to kick off a hearty carb-heavy feast!

I ordered, what proved to be the best pizza I had this year to date – with bacon, blue cheese, poached pear, rocket and pecan-nut brittle!  Oh my goodness – what a taste sensation!  It is now almost a month later and I still dream about that first delicious bite!  A fantastic combination of flavours and texture.

Bella Casa is a real gem, from the casual ‘make you feel right at home’ decor to the bursts of flavour and colour – I can’t wait to go back! Well done guys!

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