Monday, May 14, 2007

Bel Mondo

Bel Mondo if taken to be a fine dining experience passes off as a well decorated shell with little substance. However, if taken as an ordinary culinary sitting it is somewhat decent, although pricey for an ordinary meal. The swanky bar, mood colour lighting, streaming curtains that separate sections of the restaurant and the redecoration of a once old industrial wharf down at the rocks and the artfully decorated food is really what you are mostly paying for.

Entree - House made seafood sausage, creamed leek & seared scallops
The signature entrée of house made seafood sausage was the best of the offerings. However its short fall was clearly an overdose of seafood ingredients in the sausage that was over blended to the point that you could not clearly differentiate the seafood constituents, not to mention a dash too much of salt (and I do like salt seasoning in my food) and the sauce accompaniment didn’t really compliment the sausage, it doesn't seem to add any role in the dish.

Another entrée our table had was the seared prawn and scallop served served with salad. This was another overblended dish where the salad mixture didn’t intertwine well with the slightly overcooked prawn and cold scallop.

Mains - Roast duck with braised witlof & prunes
The mains offered the signature duck which promises to be crispy however turned out to be more stewed-like with thick soft duck skin and an ill-proportion of fat and the meat itself. It was great that the duck meat was tender but there was no crispy skin as promised. The sauce was slightly overherbed yet it blended into the duck meat (it tasted like the duck was cooked in the sauce) rather than adding to the duck.The prunes added a unique touch to the dish and was quite a highlight for me. For a signature dish of a swanky restaurant like that it was rather disappointing and the dessert didn’t do anything to help

Lastly, came the desserts. This is chocolate brownie that is placed into the oven for 10 minutes upon ordered before it is served. The chocolate sauce came out bubbling with heat when served. We were told not to touch the plate or we would burn ourselves. Nice theatrics for the eyes but I wasn't sure whether the chocolate is meant to be heated at such a high temperature in the oven. When it cooled down a little, there was a slight burnt taste. It probably shouldn't have been placed in the oven at such a high temperature or for so long. I like my chocolate creamy~

The semi alfredo served with a meringue and a side of fruits was yet another poorly blended dish where the meringue was as hard and as sweet as rock candy and the fruits (raspberry and apricot) sprinkled with mint (that once again was a mismatch that doesn’t combine well) tasted like old canned fruit. The semi alfredo was better served by itself…
I have to say that I absolutely love the presentation of the semi alfredo, Bel Mondo seems to be an expert at the art of food decoration and creating a wonderful feasts for the eyes but the rest is not on par.

The service was somewhat confusing though polite and the setting was as remarked swanky and could have even been better if we weren’t one of the few tables there.

Overall the above comments are taken in view of a fine dining experience which is what the restaurant makes out to be, but the quality of the ingredients and the overblended yet troubled combination of ingredients leaves Bel Mondo behind the pack and clearly not a hat-ted restaurant, although it is overall quite decent for an ordinary meal – but then again, would you pay such prices for ordinary?”
(Shared Review with T.B)
Total Score ~ 14/25
[Taste - 4 (10) , Presentation - 5 (5), Service - 3 (5), Value for Money - 2 (5)]
Bel Mondo
Gloucester Walk, The Rocks
Tel: (02) 9241 3700


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