Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eat @ belleZain

Unlike the Harbour City, there are only a select few places where you can enjoy fantastic views of the sun, sea and surf in Melbourne and Port Melbourne is one of those places. With so many restaurants, bars and cafes vying for your patronage and offering a meal with a view, it’s tough to decide on which place will be the best value.

belleZain (1 Beach St, Port Melbourne. Phone: 03 9646 6706) is one such restaurant set in modern surroundings that gives you the views with a light modern meal to match.

The décor is slick, modern and sexy with plump cushions abound clearly marked for the designer set of the surrounding posh Port Phillip crowd who dine here. But it’s the glass panelled patio dining area which is the selling point. The views of the expansive Port Phillip Bay are breathtaking. With the sun beating down, the sand of Port Melbourne beach, the giant palm trees and blue sky – this is all about sex appeal.

But what about the food? The menu stems from the Mediterranean with Italian and Spanish influences and on paper sounds very appealing. A mix of pastas, risottos, tapas, wood-fired thin crust pizza and then an interesting mix of seafood and steak mains, there is plenty to have your mouth watering.

But the menu suffers from the latest trend of using overly fancy words for describing the elements to each dish and when the meal arrives, there just seems to be something lacking.

The Cavatelli pasta with Confit Duck Ragout sounded very tempting, but lacked some basic flavours and had a very watery base which detracted from the overall dish. The Linguini with Tiger Prawns and Seared Scallops was creamy and light but lacked a little in prawns which would have made the dish far more filling.

The pizzas proved popular and had a great combination of contemporary and traditional toppings. The wood fried element added to the flavours and added a deliciously crunchy crust which left you licking your lips.

The dessert menu proved equally tempting with Saffron Panna Cotta and White Chocolate Raspberry Brulee on offer. The wine list is extensive and sources quality wines from Spain, Italy, Australia and France.

belleZain tries hard to be something that it is not. Perhaps it’s not the place to order pastas dishes, but it’s not worth for the pizzas alone – there are better places to get quality pizzas. Service is above average and courteous, but not the standard it should be for what it wants to be.

belleZain is a good spot for a light, quick lunch on a warm summer day.

2 of 5

1 comment:

Evol Kween said...

Well Melburnian, BelleZain happens to be 200 metres from my house! We ate there a couple of times when it first opened, but while it was never terrible, it was never that good. Nice review.