Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Restaurant

Belair House
Gallery Road
Dulwich Village
London

Phone:- 0208 299 9788

Website
www.belairhouse.co.uk

Overview

Belair House was built in 1785, it was bought by Gary Cady in 1996; who restored it and turned it into a bar and restaurant. It serves contemporary European food.

It comprises a bar, main restaurant, conservatory and outside dining area. The Georgian architectural features have been retained.

Eva and I went there last night for dinner.

Ambience

The house is situated in a beautifully maintained park off Gallery Road. The bar is spacious, the walls are painted in red and white. The floor is tiled, this combined with the modern background music makes it a little noisy.

The main restaurant was very busy. We sat in a semi circular part of the room, this part of the room was painted chocolate brown; overhead was a large candelabra. The main part of the dining room had a Georgian fireplace as a centrepiece. The tables were professionally laid with white tablecloths, the seating comfortable high back blue chairs.

The walls in both the bar and restaurant are decorated with original paintings, which are quite striking.

Eva would like me to mention that the ladies facilities were better than the ones she normally encounters in other restaurants, the cubicles painted in bright colours set against blue brickwork. These reminded her of an upmarket school lavatory.

Menu

The restaurant offers a set a la carte three course meal for £32. The dishes are imaginative and make use of locally grown herbs; they include pork belly, hake, pan fried sea bass, scallops, tournedos and saddle of lamb.

The wine list is extensive and offers wine from under £20 to £395.

Service

The service both in the bar and restaurant was friendly, attentive and efficient. We had a couple of pre dinner tequila sunrises in the bar, where we were able to peruse the menus and present our orders.

Despite the fact that the restaurant was full, our table was ready on time; and the niceties such as offering bread and water were not neglected.

Food

I started with a generous portion of the Foie Gras which was rich, smooth and surrounded by a grape and sauterne jelly. However, I was surprised that this was not served with toast or something similar such as oatmeal biscuits. I would recommend that this be added.

I chose the saddle of lamb for my main course. This was very good, the meat tender and succulent, served in a flavoursome jus with a mushroom pate. However, being a trencherman I was a little disappointed there were no potatoes served with the dish. Note to the chef, please add potatoes to your repertoire.

My dessert was ice tea sorbet, refreshing and an ideal compliment to the savoury flavours of the Foie Gras and lamb.

Eva started with crispy pork belly which was served with croutons and salad. This dish had a very strong salty flavour. Eva enjoyed it, however she feels that it would have benefited from an oil based dressing which should be served in a side dish.

Eva chose duck breast with apple sauce served with sarladaise potatoes and a stuffed cabbage leaf. The breast was tender, pink and succulent. The potato and cabbage complimented the meat. However, she felt that the portions of both cabbage and potato could have been a little more generous.

Eva chose mangoes served on a mixture of eggs and cream for her dessert. This was rich and creamy, and proved to be quite filling.

We finished the meal off with some with brandies.

The meal, which included a bottle of Pinot Grigio and pre/post dinner drinks, came to £156 including tip.

Overall Opinion

We enjoyed our visit to Belair House; it is, in my opinion, definitely worth visiting for a special occasion.

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