A friend and I stopped for a quick girls lunch at Bella Restaurant and Bar on Ponsonby road. A sunny day meant outside dining at shiny copper polished tables and the promise of people watching. Tucked in between the skanky pines that frame the entrance way and the shrubbery that blocks out the street rabble we hunkered down to share a light lunch.
We ordered, crispy squid, carpaccio w steak tartare and steamed green beans with parmesan. To tempt our appetites fresh baby bread rolls were served with compliments by a delightful waitress. The rolls came accompanied by extra virgin olive oil seasoned with sea salt and fresh thyme. These were so fresh, fluffy and warm that the most hardened "no-carbs dieter" would go weak at the knees just from the smell of them.
The squid was perfect, crispy yet tender served on a lacey ring of fine cucumber slices with a mayo and lime wedges, this dish tasted as pretty as it looked. The carparccio was delicately sliced and melted at the wave of a fork; the mayonnaise served with this was suitably subtle. Unfortunately the tartare really let this dish down; it was grey in colour, carelessly cut and had an overbearing flavour of Worcester sauce. The menu had promised aged balsamic, I felt disappointed; this component of the dish truly didn't seem fresh and sadly spoilt the care that had been taken with the carpaccio. The green beans were beautiful though. Very fresh and crisp, perfectly cooked and served with real parmesan, not that horrible fake stuff we too often get in NZ restaurants.
We finished our meal with black bergamot tea, otherwise knwon as Earl Grey, a perfect refresher to set us up for the afternoon. I will try to post the name of the brand of the tea used, but I have phone Bella six times and they never seem to answer their telephone. Stay tuned for details.
The service was so impeccable, professional, unobtrusive and full of smiles that we really enjoyed our meal despite the tartare. The bill was reasonable too, coming in at under $50.00 for two starters, a side, a bottle of sparkling mineral water and two pots of tea.
Bella Restaurant and Bar
165 Ponsonby Road
PH: 0-9-360 2656
For menu samples and photographs click on the link below