Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bellinis Restaurant

Food: Cafe Mix (Light Meals - Salads, Burgers, etc) and some Bistro Mains

Wine: Limited but fair
Service: Exceptional. Intelligent, diligent, warm and caring.
Ambiance: Classic decor, Friendly and Vibey atmosphere.
In a Nutshell: Excellent food classics in a warm and welcoming environment with great energy and service. This restaurant lives up to its outstanding word-of-mouth reputation and everyone in the staff team does their part towards maintaining it! Don't miss: Chicken Livers Peri Peri and the Pepper Fillet.
Where: 18 Chaplin Rd, Illovo. Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tel: 011 880 9168

Dijon Beef Fillet

After innumerable recommendations we went for dinner to Bellinis in Illovo, and what a pleasant night it was! The restaurant looks always busy for lunch and dinner, and so that kept deterring us from trying our luck. I phoned to make a reservation for Friday evening, but they said they don't take bookings for dinner. Hence we decided to venture in early and off we went, right after work! 

It is a busy street, so keep in mind that finding parking, when arriving after 7 pm, can be tricky. Also, since they don't take 
bookings you might have to wait for a table, but they have cleverly organized a nice bar area where you can start with a round of drinks, and it didn't seem to us like anyone had to wait that long anyway. This time we got there early so we fortunately didn't have to deal with any of that. We were warmly welcomed by the manager who allowed us to choose our table, as there was only one other table sitting down at the time (6 pm). The place is very simply decorated, but the wooden tables and bar, all dressed in black and white, together with the polaroid B&W pictures help create a classic, yet cozy atmosphere. 

Ready for a drink, we decided to go for a red wine, they don't have an extensive wine menu, but the ones they have promise to be good. I was specially happy to see an Idiom blend in the Chalkboard menu but left that option for another time (budget allowing). This time around we tried the Vergeelegeen Cabernert Merlot which turned out to be quite a good choice. The Food Menu isn't very extensive either, or very fancy for that matter, but again, as long as what a restaurant serves is done very well, I would never be happier! For me, the purpose of a good restaurant should not be to serve food that pretends to be this or that, but simply good food, done right that you enjoy in every bite and if they don't make a particularly good ceasar salad or pasta napolitana (or any other of those dishes that seem to appear across many menus), then by all means please leave it out of the menu!
Chicken Livers Peri Peri

We started with one portion of chicken livers peri peri (perfectly enough to share) and they were magnificent! Medium cooked with lovely per peri (non-creamy) and seasoned with just the perfect touch of chilli with a splash of lemon! the best I've ever had!! Last minute we realized that the Livers needed some serious refreshment to follow, and so we ordered a Grolsch to share for this meal, which they were speedy to bring with a pair of Ice cold glasses! Excellent combination.

Almost everybody that has ever recommended Bellinis raved and praised about the fillet there and so we knew that we had no other choice for mains. I went for the Dijon Fillet while by husband chose the Pepper Fillet, for sides we went for the salad and the chips, so we could share. I have to say that the raving and praising was highly justified as the meals were VERY good. The meat was cooked to perfection and you could tell the quality of the butchery behind it for the tenderness of its flesh. The sauce bathed the fillet in what almost looked like a soup, it may seem excessive but the soft and buttery texture of the sauce (we liked the pepper one better), with that hot peppery taste and crackling finish were done just right and did not compete, but rather complimented, the grilled Fillet. The chips were thin and crispy and the salad, leafy but nicely dressed. I hate to sound biased, but I wasn't at all, everything was just that good!

Dijon Beef Fillet
Pepper Beef Fillet

Up to this point, I've failed to mention much about the service itself, but I have to say that it was exceptional! The waitress changed our tablecloth due to small spill; they were attentive, yet not in your face; great timing; they could explain meals and provide wine recommendations; and they seemed to genuinely care about our satisfaction and comfort. Now, that's what I call service! We were so happy that we tipped the waitress accordingly and she thanked us warmly for the gesture, no arrogant assumptions here. 

A glass of Drambuie later we walked out with a full tummy and a happy heart, wishing to return in the near future.

Love, iSa

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