Friday, October 2, 2009

Review: Bellevue Hotel Dining Room

159 Hargrave Street
Paddington  NSW

Tuesday - Friday: 12.00 noon – 2.30pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12.30pm - 3.00pm
Closed Monday Lunch

Monday - Saturday: 6pm – 10pm
Closed Sunday Dinner

We all require different things from our food experiences and these will inevitably alter over the course of any given day, week or month. Squeak and I love fine dining, we love experimental cuisine, we are not averse to a bit of cheap and cheerful, but sometimes what everyone really needs is comfort, homely food.  This is the niche where The Bellevue Hotel's restaurant resides.... and they do it well!

Usually Squeak and I stay in on a Friday night, and we just hole up for an evening of take-away and dodgy television catch-ups, until we bundle ourselves into bed nice and early. Tonight though, as we wound down after another busy week of work, I thought we might pop out for an early dinner - we decided on The Bellevue Hotel's Dining Room at Paddington.
The Bellevue is an ordinary looking pub, where you can still pop in a bet at the TAB, grab a beer at the front bar or even drop a hopeful dollar in the pokies - it's not trendy Paddington, it's old school Paddington, and really it seems so appropriate that this restaurant sits at the back of such a place. The dining room iteself is not slick, and some of the items look like they could be updated, but it is light and well spaced.
The Bellevue isn't progressive and trendy, but it is good.

To start Squeak orders the Salad of Braised Fennel with Burrata Mozzarella and Prosciutto. As I was surreptitiously trying to sneak a photo in of my own dish I heard a small gasp and an airy 'Oh My God...'.  I knew what that meant. Squeak had scored herself a good one. The white 'blob' that dominated the plate was one whole ball of gooey, silky mozzarella, that when paired with shavings of salty prosciutto and warm, aniseedy fennel was truly a revelation. I managed to snaffle some of it myself, and it was delicious.  I felt that the basil leaves complemented the dish, however Squeak (not a massive fan of basil) felt that it did tend to overpower the other flavours.

Meanwhile, I was tucking into a salad of Grilled Queensland Squid with broadbeans, crispy pancetta and mint. This just looked refreshing! I didn't expect the big mint leaves, but they (and the pancetta) were the elements on the plate that made this dish work. The squid was warm, soft and well cooked, but it was in combination with the salty crispiness of the pancetta and the mild, fresh flavour of the mint that this all came together.  Both dishes were a success, however portion sizes were large which doesn't always bode well for dessert later.

Squeak ordered the ultimate in homely, comfort food - Corned Wagyu Silverside w/ white sauce, cabbage, carrots and mashed potato. I nearly do not need to say more... the dish's name evokes thoughts of childhood and security. The picture doesn't do the flavours any justice. The silverside was incredibly tender and had the right amount of saltiness.  The white sauce was just right, with just a hint of acidity and the lingering flavours of parsley to finish. Squeak is a mad mash connoisseur and she declared the mash a success - smooth and appropriately seasoned. There were leftovers on the plate, but Squeak felt that sacrifice was necessary to keep the dessert dream alive.

Steak (ordinarily the domain of Squeak) arrived for me. This was Grilled Sirloin (150 day grass fed) w/ red wine escallot butter and frites. What better meal can there be? A beautiful, tender steak with crispy potato fries accompanied by a rich, buttery, red wine sauce that was enhanced by tarragon. This was an example of simplicity, when perfectly executed, producing all the appropriate feelings of comfort and delicious-ness. It was a bit of tough going getting through the whole thing, and I left a few token frites on the plate, but the flavours and warm juiciness of the steak kept me ploughing through.

Now, as alert followers will know - Buggles & Squeak do not habitually share dessert. On this occasion however, the serving sizes were suggesting to us that this may have to happen. On perusal of the menu however, we saw the pure necessity of going it alone once again.
Squeak opted for the Chocolate and Hazelnut tort with Blood Orange Sorbet. This too, was an example of the tables turning as, ordinarily, chocolate is my domain - but Squeak wanted this one, and I suspect it was the blood orange component that turned the tide. It did look deliciously gooey when it arrived - I have to admit. It was a relatively small serve, but it certainly did the job. The blood orange sorbet was needed to offset and cut through the soft richness of the tort - which was indeed very chocolate-y. I felt the sorbet was a tad too sweet, but Squeak did not have any complaints.

I needed to redress my pavlova disappointment of the prior week. The memory of pav needed redemption. I ordered Pat's Famous Pavlova. I figured if it warranted the label 'famous' it meant they were proud of it - so I risked the disappointment. I wasn't - much. Once again, we were drowned by the serve size (and yet I still managed to finish it all), however the meringue was crisp, and the insides were marshmallowy and gooey... as it should be. There was some lemon curd on top, an abundance of passionfruit syrup, all underneath a massive dollop of thick, double cream. It was good - there is no denying it - but for some reason (and I don't know if my taste buds are changing) it was a bit too sweet.  So I am still left with a sense that my version of a vanilla pavlova w/ lime cream and raspberries still beats both pavlovas I've tried in the last week.

In all, The Bellevue's restaurant really tries to replicate good old fashioned meals that we all love, and executes them well. Apart from the very slight disappointment in the pavlova, both Squeak and I lurched our way home feeling thoroughly contented.
Bellevue Dining Room on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Marcette @ Malta said...

Dear Buggles & Squeak, having only recently discovered your mouth-watering, hunger-inducing blog, I only wish I wasn't living on the other side of the world so I could try out these places and the wonderful dishes you discover!! :)