A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published May 29th 2014
As Sound as a Belle
We found Belle's Diner after wandering slightly aimlessly along Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. We'd been to a beer tasting at the Builder's Arms Hotel, but decided not to eat in the hotel itself, opting for something smaller and more intimate. And so, we found Belle's Diner.
As the name suggests, it's set up like a traditional American diner. Just in case you weren't sure, there is a traditional looking sign with the word 'Diner' lit up with light globes! The configuration is a long rectangular room, with a bar running along much of the back wall. Seating is a combination of cosy booths, high tables with stools, and stools placed along the bar. It's fairly low lighting, but has a cosy and welcoming feel.
Cosy look and feel to Belle's
In a food sense, I'd have to say we didn't really do Belle's justice. We'd had some (delicious) hot chips at the Builder's Arms, and they'd definitely taken the edge off our appetites. So we went for light options. I opted for the crab cakes, 'salmon and swimmer crab cakes with gremolata mayonnaise, watercress and beetroot sprouts' ($16.50). These were light, moist and super tasty.
Crab cakes - super tasty
Dave selected the soup of the day - artichoke soup ($12). He's a big fan of artichoke, and the soup was definitely a hit.
We also decided to have a glass of wine each, and that's where things got a little interesting. Dave selected the Hither and Yon Tempranillo (McLaren Vale) ($12); I went for the Ampel Pinot Noir (Tasmania) ($10). It seems I made the wiser choice. We each tried the Tempranillo and it did not taste pleasant. I encouraged Dave to bring this to the attention of our waitress, but he didn't, electing instead to suffer on with this not-so-great wine.
That is, until it came time to ask for our bill - by which point, the glass was nearly empty. So, Dave says, 'I just wanted to give you the feedback that I didn't really like this wine'. The waitress apologised profusely and offered him a glass of another wine on the house. Dave said no, he didn't really feel like another, but thanked her for the offer.
A short time later, another staff member, who by her manner was perhaps the manager, approached us, brandishing a bottle of wine and fresh glass. 'I can't possibly have you leaving here having drunk a glass of wine you didn't enjoy', says she! And so, he was given another glass of wine. I can't recall now what it was, but it was certainly more to his taste! She also said that the wine Dave didn't like was a new wine they were trialling, so they were pleased to get the feedback.
The whole situation was handled so efficiently and professionally that it left us with a very positive view of Belle's. We will have to return when we have a bigger appetite!
Belle's is walking distance from Melbourne city, or easily accessible via a number 86 tram from Bourke Street.