8a Abercromby Place
Phone:- 0131 476 2602
Eva and I spent a few days over Christmas in Edinburgh this year. On Boxing Day, with no set plans for dinner, we took the advice of our hotel (The Balmoral) and visited Bellini Restaurant.
Bellini is an Italian restaurant and cookery school that aims to bring "a taste of Venice" to the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town.
Bellini is run by Angelo Cimini who, like his family, comes from a long established catering background. His hometown of Villa Santa Maria, has taught chefs since 1290 and exported them internationally through the centuries to all corners of the world. Angelo has cooked for Sophia Loren, Charlie Chaplin and Clint Eastwood; now he has also cooked for us!
Angelo spent several years in Venice cooking at many famous deluxe international hotels and restaurants, learning the "secret-kitchen" which has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
In addition to running the restaurant, Angelo also runs a cookery school from the same premises.
The restaurant is set in an elegant Edinburgh town house. Our welcome was warm and friendly. We were shown to a private bar on the left of the entrance hall, where we perused our menus whilst sipping some champagne.
The decor is cosy and romantic and the dining room is intimate, not over crowded with too many tables too close together.
Blue is the colour of choice in the dining room, the walls are painted blue complemented by a blue carpet contrasted by the tables which are laid with white linen cloths and napkins.
As an additional festive touch, since it was still Christmas, we each had a Christmas cracker. We wore our paper hats with enthusiasm!
The menu, rather surprisingly for an Italian restaurant, contains little pasta. In fact, Angelo cooks what is in season and what he feels is appropriate. Hence a large part of the menu is not printed, but conveyed to the customers by word of mouth by the hostess.
The dishes offer a "fusion" of local Scottish produce with Italian culinary expertise.
One amusing touch during the menu "performance" was the presentation of the mushroom basket, which Angelo would use in some of his specials.
The staff were very friendly and welcoming. The service was relaxed but attentive, I would not recommend the restaurant if you only have 30 minutes for a quick business lunch. However, to my view, you should not go to a good restaurant if you are in a hurry.
Angelo came out at the end of the meal and personally introduced himself to all of his customers. Which was a nice touch, and meant that he was able to hear first hand if there were any issues regarding the quality of food or service.
I chose the chicken ravioli for my starter. This consisted of freshly made pasta stuffed with chicken, in a white wine and tarragon sauce.
It was thoroughly enjoyable, and was an ideal way to start the meal.
I opted for the 16oz veal T-bone for my main course. This was cooked medium, as requested, with a rosemary white wine and lemon sauce.
The veal was succulent and gorgeously tender. It was accompanied by sauté potatoes and French beans. I was very happy with my choice.
Eva started with scallops with mash. These were first class; the scallops were tender and flavoursome and were complemented by the creamy rich mashed potato.
Eva chose the chicken ravioli for her main course. She was as happy with this as I had been when I had it for my starter. I would note that of course, the main serving was larger than the starter portion.
The meal, which included a bottle of Chablis and liqueurs, came to just under £117 including service.
Bellini Restaurant is definitely worth visiting, and we shall certainly revisit when we are next in Edinburgh.