I was precariously balanced on one of those fit balls things doing something my trainer calls exercise, when my mobile rang. “Do you want to get that” she asked. I responded in the affirmative (as someone whose phone doesn’t ring very often, I thought I should answer it as it could have been something or someone important).
Still balanced on the ball, I scrabbled around in my bag, which my trainer had handed me, to find my phone.
When I finally answered it, it was someone from Bella Vedere confirming my 12:30 lunch booking. I thought the booking was for 12:00. No, she checked, it was for 12:30, but we could come at 12:00 if we wanted. I said we would be there somewhere in between the two times.
I finished my torture session, and upon getting home checked the print out of the booking from Dimmi. It said 12:00.
It turned out 12:30 suited J and I better and we probably got to Bella Vedere around 12:20.
Bella Vedere is located at the Badger’s Brook winery in the Yarra Valley. It consists of a restaurant, cooking school, bakery and also has its own kitchen garden.
The style of the restuarant is country cottage and on a miserable wet day was cosy and inviting.
We were seated at a window and could see into the kitchen and also out to the garden.
The menu at Bella Vedere changes daily, depending on seasonal ingredients, and is very prettily presented.
Two courses cost $65 and three was $80.
We passed the dessert table on the way in, and while it looked very tempting, J and I decided to go with entree and main and then see how we were feeling.
House-baked bread, with a rather good butter also helped fill us up.
For entree I had the Jerusalem artichoke soup with balsamic poached egg.
I did find the colour of the egg a little off putting but the egg was needed to balance out the very strong artichoke flavour.
It was a huge bowl and I wisely only ate half of it.
J had the crab omelette with prawn bisque and angel hair crisps.
J liked this dish but didn’t think the bisque was necessary. The angel crisp gave some crunchy texture but there wasn’t enough of it, and he would have preferred the omelette to be served on a crispy bread.
For main course I had the lamb shank with olive, pickled lemon, and perfumed pumpkin tagine.
Another generous serve, with the meat falling of the shank. I don’t think the tagine really worked, it was a bowl of couscous with some pumpkin.
J had the Bella rabbit braised in apple cider, mustard and pancetta, toffee apple and potato.
He liked it but said some parts of the rabbit were dry and tough, while others were moist and beautifully cooked.
Fries with anchovy mayo and a garden salad are included with the mains.
We were way too full for dessert, but this was what was on offer:
I did have a rather good hot chocolate though.
Service for the most part was good. The two waitresses who served us throughout the meal were friendly and really good about food and wine recommendations. The service did slow down as the restaurant got busy but this expected, and there was some confusion over our coffee orders.
The one thing that I did find odd, and the more I think about it the more I think is it not appropriate is that there was a young girl serving on the floor. I am not good with judging people’s ages but I would say she was around 12, and I think one of the owner’s daughters. I am happy to be corrected on either of those points.
I saw her setting dessert cutlery for people at other tables and also serving dessert.
Even if hospitality is what she wants to do, she is a bit young to be out on the floor, and even if was older she should be dressed the same as the other staff, who were all looking very smart. This girl was wearing sneakers, leggings and a purple fleece. She also sat down at a table in the middle of the restaurant and ate her own lunch, this is not something any staff member would do.
Bella Vedere is a one hatted restaurant and while I believe in family business and family friendly restaurants, I don’t think it was appropriate. She brought our bill to us, and also processed the credit card payment when J took the bill up to the counter.
Overall, Bella Vedere was OK. We thought it was expensive for what it was and wouldn’t go back.