Flavours of the city: Bellagio at the Blubird Centre in Birnam

2011-09-09 07:38

Taste of Joburg comes to Montecasino on Thursday. Babalwa Shota reviews the Bellagio at the Blubird Centre in Birnam.

I magine it’s a glorious spring day in the Mediterranean and you’re sitting in a cafe sipping on a glass of sparkling pink wine while enjoying the sea view.

Take away the blue ocean and replace it with a residential complex, and you’re left with a leisurely lunch on the balcony of Bellagio in Melrose, Joburg.

The rattan chairs accented with blue-and-white-striped cushions are complemented by the rugged sophistication of the baskets and wooden carvings of fish. The Bossa Nova music in the background adds to the perfect atmosphere.

Not as good as it should have been. Our waiter was elderly and lethargic, making his service lacklustre and uninspired.

Considering that the restaurant was a third empty at lunchtime, we were not impressed. We had to ask about the specials, he forgot my salad and some dishes on the menu were not available. It was irritating.

However, the food was quick to arrive and looked great.

Menu’s best:
My companion and I shared a sushi starter, and I ordered the seared tuna while she went for the fish pie. After I enquired about the sustainability of the tuna, I got the feeling that the waiter was not very clued up.

The tuna was underwhelming, but the roast vegetables were delicious. My friend’s fish pie, however, blew us away. She took the words right of my mouth when she declared: “I got lost in this dish.”

When the desserts arrived – chocolate souffle and créme brulée ice cream – we squealed with pleasure.

Expect to find:
During lunch, expect to see ladies who lunch and their kids, and people conducting business over a leisurely lunch. The atmosphere demands that you cross your legs, put on your shades and sip on your champers.

The service was not good and some dishes did not blow us away. However, when the food was good, it was devilishly good.

The desserts have a new convert in me. I’ll be back just for the ice cream! The prices are fairly conservative, with the bill coming in at an impressive R530.90, including a bottle of surprisingly good Pierre Jourdan bubbly.

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