Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Belluci's, Woden (ACT) by Bureaucrat

Every now and then, bureaucrats need to make a trip to the mecca of bureaucracy - Canberra.

So while situated in wonderful Woden, I took the opportunity to indulge in eating take away in bed watching the limited range of tv channels on offer in my hotel room.

The take away in question was Belluci's. If you've ever lived or travelled in Canberra, you'll know that it's at least 20 years behind the other capital cities when it comes to dining. Canberra likes to think it's cosmopolitan but it isn't. Similarly, London likes to think it's cosmopolitan, but it's not.... but I digress.

I chose Belluci's for dinner because it fit the bill - I didn't have to walk far. I was told that the food there was good by locals. I didn't have my expectations set high, because Canberrans wouldn't know good food if it was served to them on a plate - kinda like Britons.

Anyhoo, I walked into Belluci's and my low expectations were elevated to cautious optimism. Even during mid-week, the place was almost full with diners. The place had a nice warm ambiance, with a nice hum of conversation. The place was decorated with European portraits and a sleek bar area with marble table top in the middle of the restaurant, and well-presented and friendly waiters - a very smart first impression. I could hardly believe that I was in Canberra - this was even better quite a few restaurants in Melbourne.

After placing my order, I perched myself at the bar and just took in the restaurant. It was then I wished I had a dinner companion so that I could eat at the restaurant. While I occasionaly can muster the confidence to eat solo in a restaurant, there are times where I don't want people to watch me wolf down a whole pizza by myself.... it just makes me feel like Bridget Jones.

A hop, skip and step back to my hotel room and voila, Belluci's supreme wood-fired pizza - Italian sopressa, onion, mushroom, roast peppers, pineapple and olives. A nice thin, crispy base with a good balance of flavours. An above-average pizza, which could have been perfect if it had anchovies.

To go with my pizza, I ordered a salad of rocket, pear, walnut, gorgonzola and aged balsamic. A classic Italian salad, and it was perfect. Excellent quality ingredients were used - fresh, peppery rocket, generous clumps of gorgonzola, sweet pear, toasted walnuts and, top points here, a generous drizzle of high-quality balsamic vinegar - glistening, viscous and jet black. This is the real stuff, not that cheap hideous stuff that you get in so many restaurants.

And yes, I did eat all of the pizza and the salad.

It seems that Canberra is growing up - a view that was further reinforced a few weeks later when I was back for another day.

So if you're ever down in Woden, I'd recommend Belluci's. This is a big deal for me - in the two years that I lived in Canberra, there was no one restaurant or cafe that I liked enough to recommend anyone. Belluci's is smart and serves great food. Keep it up the good work!

Food – 8
Ambience – 8
Service – 8
Price – 7.5

Corner Launceston and Irving Streets
Woden 2603 ACT
Telephone: 02 6282 1700

Belluci's Italian on Urbanspoon


Hannah said...

Holy smokes, ouch! As a Canberra, I'd know never to go to Belluci's or its ilk. We actually do have some amazing places - check out Sage next time you're in town, though you'll likely have to step outside your hotel room ;)

Hannah said...

A *Canberran* who can't type correctly, apparently. :P

Bureaucrat said...

Hi Hannah

Yeah, sorry about the Canberra bashing :P

I did eat at Sage (about 5-6 years ago) but I can't remember how the food was. I've also heard that Ottoman (I think that's the name) is good too.

But while living in Canberra, I discovered one of my favourite restaurants, which is in Bungendore, NSW. I absolutely love the cafe (and furniture!) at the Woodworks Gallery. I still miss that cafe and would definitely drive up to Canberra just to eat there again.

And there was this incredible European bakery/cake shop in Queanbeyan.

I'll be blogging about a cafe at the Belco shopping centre soon, which was also a nice surprise.


Fram said...

Very nice place of the restaurant. It is so comfortable to eat and the people we're cool. very delicious pizza. Thank you.

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