Bellinis Express – The best meal I’ve had in ages (and not just because it was free!)

www.bellinisitaliano.com/

Being on the mailing list for the two current Bellinis restaurants, I was lucky enough to receive an email offering the chance to have a free meal for two including wine at their new Express Restaurant. This is located in St David’s 2 and had only opened that week.  Naturally, given my love of the word free (along with cheap, bargain, offer etc.), I jumped at the chance and a reservation was rapidly made.

The new restaurant is a smaller affair than the Park Place and Cardiff Bay sites, but no less elegant.  As you enter the restaurant you arrive at the bar, with dining areas on either side of it.  We were seated well away from the door in a cosy row of three tables for two, despite the restaurant being quite busy I didn’t feel too overlooked.  The tables themselves are topped with a slab of grey marble and the seats were comfortable.  The overall décor was modern without feeling cold.

We started with a dish which I have to admit is not particularly Italian, ciabatta bread topped with cream cheese and Scottish smoked salmon (£4.50).  When it arrived I was quite glad I was sharing this dish as it was certainly a generous portion.  There were two huge slabs of ciabatta and liberal lashing of oily salmon accompanied by a slightly unnecessary (and in the end completely untouched) salad.  It tasted wonderful, smoky but light, a nice way to start a meal.


For my main I opted for the more Italian tortelloni filled with lobster and served in a tarragon sauce (£13.95) and I must say that the description on the menu did not do this meal justice.  The pasta was bright red/pink unlike any I had ever seen before (I never did find out what it was coloured with), the creamy tarragon sauce was full of crayfish and the whole thing was topped off with a tiger prawn. The dish looked spectacular and while I thought it looked fantastic it tasted even better.  The pasta was beautifully cooked, soft and full of flavour.  The lobster filling managed to come through despite the many flavours on the plate and the sauce was just divine.  My only slight complaint about the whole dish would be that although the tiger prawn was well cooked and tasty, deheading it and removing the shell when it was covered in sauce and parmesan was messy, and left me in a bit of a quandary as to where to put the discarded bits (table which is messy and a bit rude, or plate where it gets in the way of the rest of the food!).


We finished the meal with the chocolate and pear tart (£4.95) which turned out to be served in yet another enormous portion. Thankfully, after so much rich pasta, this delightful dessert was tasty without being stodgy and the pasty base was light and crumbly. The mango and raspberry colis that came with it provided a hint of sharpness to contrast with the chocolate, and a little more of this would have been appreciated.


Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Bellinis.  The tortelloni was easily the best pasta dish I have had in a long time and the starter and main weren’t too shabby either.  The large portions meant that I left feeling pretty stuffed, despite sharing two courses. I would have felt I had got good value for money had I actually paid for all the meal.  The new location is central convenient and should prove popular.  I can see me popping in there sometime for a lunch when shopping or maybe one evening.

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One Response to “Bellinis Express – The best meal I’ve had in ages (and not just because it was free!)”

  1. MaryMoh Says:

    What a lovely meal! I love all of them.

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