Casa Romana is a completely unexpected hidden gem right in the heart of the city of Leicester. Tucked down one of the quieter side streets, we are surrounded by business and residential properties alike. We arrive around this time 6 days a week, and from the moment the key turns in the discreet green door, it all begins.
A good strong double espresso has to be first on the list, often enjoyed with one or more of the older Italian men who’ve made Leicester their home.
Our daily bread arrives in a large brown Italian flour bag, made early each morning by a local Italian baker (he likes the remain anonymous, but we think is he’s the best baker in Leicester).
A short walk from the restaurant and our daily pilgrimage to Leicester Market; exceptionally fresh produce from seasonal vegetables and fruit, and one of the finest fish markets outside of London. We have our staple items we like to buy, Monkfish, Scallops, Tuna, and Lobster is they are good and fresh, succulent tomatoes and as much baby spinach as we can buy for the day.
We start to prepare our basic ingredients, sauces and specials for the day. We make our base tomato sauces with fresh herbs, good red wine and a subtle olive oil, we freshly grate a few pounds of parmesan, but there is only so much we can do, every single plate that goes out of the kitchens is cooked to order.
Within the last 2 hours, at least 10 ‘friends’ of Casa Romana have popped in for a chat, coffee or other reason, and whilst this is all happening, and to the (no so subtle) chefs singing, we do the wine orders.
We always take bookings, but reserve a number of tables for our local customers, some come virtually every day.
In Summer, we prepare our roof terrace with sun umbrellas, table settings and chairs, worth stopping for a second the take in a view that could only be inner city, beautiful in it own right, with buildings ranging from the 17th century, to recent 20th century additions, it’s a hugely relaxing small, private space in which to eat lunch or supper.
Lots happening, but all in readiness for our first customers who begin to drift in from 11.30am onwards.