Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bella food at Bella Vista!

Bella Vista Italian Brasserie
3/5 Montpelier Vale
Telephone: 020 8318 1143

We went to visit our Lewisham friends last weekend and visited nearby Blackheath for dinner on the Saturday night. Our first stop was the micro-brewary and restaurant, Zero Degrees, where we were told it would be a 40 min wait at least. Deciding that was just too long we wandered around and found the charming little Italian called Bella Vista (not to be confused with the chain Bella Pasta). We were lucky and secured the last table for four.

The menu had a range of pastas, pizzas, risottos and meat and fish dishes. Everything was very reasonably priced with the most expensive steak dishes around 17 pounds and most other mains hovering at the 11-12 pound mark. Starters were also good from 3.95 to 7.50.

Myself and the language whizz went for the Insalata Tricolore to begin (Buffalo mozzarella,with plum tomatoes, avocado and basil). Whilst the Veggie and the EMI guy chose the Asparagus alla Parmigiana (Warm buttered asparagus with parmesan shavings).

Both starters were very good indeed with the good quality buffalo mozzarella and plum tomatoes reminding us why this salad is such a classic. I've had too many versions in the past with poor excuses for the milky cheese and under-ripe and flavourless tomatoes. My only gripe was that the basil consisted of just one leaf, which was rather mean. With regard to the other starter, the asparagus was cooked to perfection and tasted very fresh, whilst the parmesan was obviously top notch.

Sticking with being copycats, and after much studying of the menu, the Language Whizz, EMI guy and myself opted for the Porchetta Veronese; Roasted suckling pig, boned and rolled, with balsamic roasted peppers, new roast potatoes and juniper berry red wine jus, as the menu waxed lyrical (also extremely good value at 12.95).

The Veggie had plenty of choice and finally plumped for the Ravioli Con Ricotta E Spinaci;
Spinach and ricotta ravioli with wild mushroom and cream sauce

When we were presented with our main dishes I initially thought that the portion was rather small but it was exceptionally filing and just right really. The pork was gorgeous, melt in the mouth and with nice crunchy crackling. The potatoes, peppers and jus all complimented the meat very well, and although we were joking about them bringing the whole pig to our table the portion of meat was perfect.

The Veggie seemed to enjoy her ravioli very much, and we all did everything short of licking our plates!

Somehow we all felt able to challenge our stomaches with dessert! The Language Whizz and I both chose the Baileys Creme Brulee with Baileys
liqueur. The Veggie had the raspberry and lemon sorbet and EWI guy opted for the Vanilla Pod Panna Cotta with summer berries compote.

The Brulee was pleasant but the Bailey's flavouring was a tad too understated. Much laughter was provoked at the end of the meal when the Language Whizz realised that her Brulee ramakin fitted into mine with room to spare! I had no idea mine was so much bigger than her's! We should have mentioned it to the waitress, who was very nice, but didn't really have the heart - especially as she stacked them into each other without blinking an eyelid!

The Veggie pronounced the sorbet as lovely and the Panna Cotta was also a hit.

The meal with drinks and service came to just over 100 pounds. I considered this good value and would definitely return to Bella Vista when in the area again.

Scores on the doors: 8.5 out of 10

1 comment:

We Are Never Full said...

Ok, the second I read about the porchetta, I told myself to write this down. we'll be in london soon to visit family and this place sound pretty good. the problem is the pound to the dollar... we always spend so much more when we're there!

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