Bellevue Restaurant in the Bellevue Hotel, Paddington is his present stop – where he’s executive chef. So sydneycool thought we’d check out what Damien Pignolet has puts his name to – we were informed by a front of house staff member that he doesn’t cook there all the time but pops in often to oversee things – as you’d expect from the executive chef. Today we were in the hands of chef Adrian Stephen – so to speak!
We shared a first course of pan-seared scallops (Canadian) with zucchini flowers, salmon roe and beurre blanc ($21-50) – four good sized scallops with great flavour that had the right amount of caramelisation, moist and fully flavoured. The beurre blanc had, as it should , a smooth butteriness balanced with some acidity. This is a lovely sauce when done well, and this was. Beurre blanc originates in France – the Loire Valley in particular and is perfect with freshwater fish but today it is served with most things. The zucchini flowers were very light, crisp and a little salty with the fresh green taste from the stems.
Main 1: Fillet of Salmon with a warm salad of witloof, sorrel, boiled egg sitting on small potatoes ($34.50). This was good although the salmon would have been better if it was cooked for a shorter time. The skin had good seasoning and was crunchy to the bite – the egg was perfect and runny. The presentation was a little uninspiring.
Main 2: Corned Wagyu Silverside with cabbage and white sauce ($32.50). Just like my Mum used to make! The beef had a nice balance of flavour without being salty – the house-made horseradish topped off this dish. It was great.
To finish, we went for the special of the day – salted verjuice caramel with cardamon infused custard ($16). This was a real winner of a dessert, from the first mouthful to the last – it was a pleasure. The custard was velvety and smooth with a subtle taste of cardamon – the caramel was luscious and tangy. The sable biscuits were crumbly with a fresh sweet finish. The presentation here was simple and perfect as you can see from our photo. The wine list at Bellevue Hotel Dining Room is representative of most modern restaurants – some NSW wines (something we’re looking for more of in wine lists), mostly interstate and New Zealand with a sprinkling of global wines.
THE VERDICT – Bellevue Restaurant is a charming pub restaurant with a light rustic feel, no fine dining at ‘the Bellevue’ but good cooking. The staff are attentive and engaging when necessary. The food is simple provincial and homely – nothing too creative is offered. I would still like to see more care with the mains and their presentation – though food be simple or rustic, the first look in a good quality restaurant is important.
Executive Chef: Damien Pignolet
FOOD : 7/10
PRESENTATION : 5/10
SERVICE : 7/10
WINE LIST: 7/10
Bellevue Dining Room
19 Hargrave St, Paddington, Sydney 2021