Bella Vedere, Coldstream

We've been wanting to visit Bella Vedere ever since we've read reviews as far back as 2005. For one reason or another, we've never made it there. This time on the way back from Mt Buller, we made a slight detour and we were pleasantly rewarded with a rustic farmhouse filled with glasses clinking and diners chatting and customers walking in as late as 3:30pm having lunch!

The food however is far from rustic.

Starting with grassy Dimartino olive oil and three types of good, house-baked bread, we knew we were in for a treat.

First up was the fancifully named Carta Musica, or music sheet, one of the specials of the day. This was described to us as a thin, crisp, fried bread, smeared with tomato sauce and topped with scallops. Raw scallops. Well, we'd have to have that then!

Carta Musica AUD18
Napoli Sauce, Raw Scallops
The textures of this dish was fun, with the crisp bread softened in parts by the warm tomato sauce, against a sweet, cold, melting scallop and the tang of a squeeze of lemon. Had the scallop been sweeter and more intense, and perhaps seared, this would have been an amazing dish.

Fiveways Roast Lamb AUD36
with anchovies, capers, mash
For mains, Julia had the other special, Fiveways Lamb roasted on the bone, with anchovies, capers and creamy mashed potato. The lamb was tender, moist and very flavoursome. All it needed was a drizzle of the roasting juices and the occasional salty hit of anchovies or capers. Together with the comforting buttery mash, this simple dish was stunning.

Zampone alla lenticchio AUD38
Stuffed Pig's Trotters with Braised Lentils

I had a hard time deciding between the tripe and the trotters, both offally good. In the end, I decided that rich tripe would be overwhelming as a main. What followed was a plateful of a single silky, gooey, deboned pig's trotter, filled with a rich sausage, possibly cotechino, studded with raisins and pistachio. Underneath the trotter was a bed of tender puy lentils with a nice bite and nutty flavour. All this was bound together with a rich tomato sauce. I was very glad that the soft gelatinous tendons in the toes was included! The flavours of every part of this dish was intense, from the rich sausage filling with its slight mustiness to the tangy tomato sauce with distinct basil notes, perhaps due to the slightly heavy-handed seasoning to bring out the tastes.

Desserts by the kitchen window

To start off dessert, we were led to the kitchen window laden with sweet delights and each dessert was explained to us. We had already drooled over these on our way in! Chocolate Ganache with Raspberry, Rhubarb Frangipane, Pistachio Tart Kumquat Cheesecake, Pear Tatin, Tiramisu, how could we choose? Why didn't they have a tasting plate with small bites of each dessert? We settled on the pistachio tart.

Pistachio Custard Tart AUD16.50

The smooth pistachio flavoured custard was nicely balanced by fresh egg flavours. A sprinkling of chopped pistachio provided texture, and a dollop of cream for good measure. It was amazing how good the pistachio custard was, with none of nasty pistachio flavouring you sometimes get in dodgy gelati.

I noticed that the shabby chic decor of the rustic bookshelves filled with preserves, oils, and famous cookbooks like Escoffier, Fearnley-Whittingstall, Ramsay extended only to the sugar bowl. Everything else was tres chic.

We'll most definitely be back!

More photos: Bella Vedere - avlxyz/Flickr

Bella Vedere, Badger's Brook Vineyard
(03) 5962 6161
874 Maroondah Hwy,
Coldstream VIC 3770

- Bella Vedere, by John Lethlean, Epicure, The Age, May 15, 2007
- Bella Vedere - Mietta's
- Bella Vedere, by John Lethlean, Epicure, The Age, July 26, 2005

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