Bel Mondo

The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

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Editor's note: this restaurant has now changed hands, so the notes below are of historical interest only.

This was a very pretentious up-market Italian with ever-so-precious service that could have been transported direct from Florence. Bread was dull, lacking salt (to be fair, in Tuscany bread is traditionally made with little salt) and with little flavour, though it came with quite decent olives. The service experience started with the offer of "a glass of champagne or .....” and the implication that to drink anything else would be too awful to contemplate. A starter of tagliatelle with artichokes was the best dish, nice pasta with good artichokes (13/20). The other starter of prawn cutlet comprised three large prawns flattened, coated in breadcrumbs, deep-fried and served with rocket and garlic mayonnaise, all competent but altogether too greasy (13/20). 

A main course of barramundi upon a bed of lentils and tomato was not correctly cooked, barely 11/20 level. John Dory was pan-fried correctly, served with large green olive slices and green beans, and fresh chopped tomatoes (12/20). Roast potatoes were served cold, and despite being sent back to the kitchen were still poor on their return (8/20).

A "sculpture of chocolate" had decent enough bits of chocolate, but a vile noodle arrangement in the middle - as if to imitate a well known Jewish dessert, lokschen pudding, but this was much less satisfactory (9/20). A peach tart was much better with a poached peach in vanilla custard in a thin short-crust pastry that had been spoilt by being served with a slab of ricotta with (presumably unintentionally) burnt caramelised sugar on top (14/20). Coffee was OK, served with chunks of panforte and what looked like deep fried wontons dusted with icing sugar (12/20), and the wine list was excellent. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape and de Bortoli Noble One were the wines that we tried.


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