88 Ferguson St, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 5777
We stumbled upon Casa Italica while looking for a post-lunch coffee after a visit to Wild Rice, also in Ferguson St.
I’d returned once seeking soup, only to find none available.
This morning, while going about my business, I have been developing a lust for minestrone.
I’m in luck – there’s two soups on, and one of them is the one that has been on my mind.
The vegetables are chopped much more finely than I am familiar with in this soup, either made at home or out and about. But they’re all present and accounted for, cooked through but far from mushy.
My soup bowl requires a little at-table seasoning and I use all the little bowl of grated parmesan provided as my meal progresses. But together with two excellent slices of crusty buttered bread, it gets better with every mouthful until all is gone.
It’s deceptively filling and worth every cent of the $10.95 I pay for it.
Casa Italica is a temple to all things Italian situated in a lovely old building. Stacked and shelved in every nook and cranny are condiments of all sorts, tomatoes every which way and a pasta selection that appears to rival that of Mediterranean Wholesalers in Sydney Rd.
At first blush I take many of the meals listed on the blackboard menu to be little more than lightweight cafe fare.
But the plates I see around me – which include arancini and fab-looking pies – appear very fine indeed, the salad quotient looking hearty and handsome, and containing greenery and beans at the very least.
No soup for me next time.
I linger over a good coffee ($3) and a deliciously moist piece of pistachio biscotti ($2.50).
As I am taking photographs of the exterior, one of the establishment’s coffee customers, on noticing my Grateful Dead hoodie, ventures out for a bit of chat about the local music and food scenes.
Larry tells me Casa Italica is one of his regular caffeine haunts, but he seems to share our bewilderment about the food scene hereabouts.
Ferguson St, Nelson Parade, Douglas Parade – so many cafes and eateries, so few highlights.
“Nelson Parade is like the Gold Coast,” Larry quips. “We mostly go to Footscray to eat.”