After nine weeks of ferocious competition, TV series Ramsay's Best Restaurant saw Bristol eatery Casamia emerging as the victors. This Italian restaurant started life as a family pizzeria, before brothers Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias took over from their parents and turned Casamia into a luxurious dining experience. Their delicate, unusual dishes are inspired by the current trend for Heston Blumenthal-style experimental cooking.
Aged just 24 and 26, they are the youngest chefs in the country to be awarded a Michelin star, and they also have three AA rosettes. Judge Gordon Ramsay was impressed by their experimental dishes, such as pine nut sorbet and beetroot and pistachio risotto. However, the food was not the only thing being judged; according to Ramsay, the 'best' restaurant had to provide an all-round enjoyable experience and feature high quality restaurant supplies.
The TV series saw competing restaurants coping with mystery diners and surprise visits from Ramsay, and the tricky challenge of setting up a pop-up restaurant and serving a three-course meal in under a day. This challenge saw Casamia's rivals, Gujurati restaurant Prashad, crumble under the pressure, failing to buy any tablecloths and settling for plastic cutlery. Ramsay was also critical of slapdash front-of-house service, gaudy decor, and even the noise levels in some of the unsuccessful restaurants, leaving Casamia's tranquil and elegant atmosphere to triumph.
The restaurant boasts modern interiors with a Tuscan twist, such as earthy tablecloths and large candle centrepieces. Guests can choose from a multi-course tasting menu, or even buy a 'dining experience' as a luxury gift, all complemented by vintage champagnes and wines. The Sanchez-Iglesias brothers are releasing a cookery book called Elements in the new year, and told Channel 4 their next plan for the restaurant involves a spinning Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sensory room.