A fun, well-run food and wine hangout for anyone who likes to go off-piste. 

At the bar stand drinkers, drinking. At tables sit eaters, eating. People pop in to grab a bottle of wine and leave. The pigeonholing of places like Casa is getting harder, and seems less relevant, than ever. It’s not quite a wine bar, and it’s not quite a restaurant. And yet this new kid on the Mount Hawthorn block is driven by a partnership with food and wine values front and centre, and enough experience to make it work like clockwork.

And yet this new kid on the Mount Hawthorn block is driven by a partnership with food and wine values front and centre, and enough experience to make it work like clockwork.

A cork-topped table in the white-stuccoed front room is the best place to have chef Paul Bentley’s eclectic, big-flavoured and iconoclastic food. The snacks are fascinating: escabeche mussels on a Chinese doughnut with tarama, for example. Or fried potato scallops with chopped raw scallop in yuzu cream. Elsewhere hints of Bentley’s long association with Mexico erupt, and then it’s back to a very fine pork terrine en croûte.

Roast chicken is served with an intense and unmissable mole; hand-made squid ink pasta alla chitarra with uni butter, yolk and bottarga. It’s superb. As is the Golden Gaytime – lightyears from the on-a-stick version. Casa is a little tongue-in-cheek. It’s brave and proudly mongrel, too, just like the wine list is fiercely eclectic. In brief: hard to categorise but very easy to like.