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Bellazul – Bringing The Mediterranean to Marylebone

The lifestyle of Southern Europe is described as being at the height of tranquillity. This tranquil feel has managed to make its way from Southern Europe to London’s Marylebone area in the form of a casual fine-dining restaurant. The neighbourhoods of Southern Europe and its cuisine have become common knowledge for those living in and around the neighbourhoods of Marylebone.


While the sun doesn’t shine as brightly and often in Marylebone, the cuisine that is served at Bellazul Restaurant and Bar aims to transport diners to the Mediterranean. It opened to diners at the start of 2024 after becoming the predecessor of Il Baretto and boasts a fine menu thanks to head chef Simone Serafini.


Does this head chef, however, contribute a menu to Bellazul that takes diners on a Mediterranean-based journey? A three-course feast in a peaceful environment will confirm if this is indeed the case, as I discover for myself on a Sunday lunchtime.


My entrance to Bellazul was expected, given my choice to book a table, although the emptiness made me realise that it wasn’t even necessary. After being guided to my table, passing the elegant bar area, I sit myself at my table, looking out at a view of some scaffolding across Blandford Street. A waiter presents himself and is at my service; he allows me time to examine the food and drinks menus after dropping off a glass bottle of water and a standard glass.


The relaxing atmosphere of an almost-empty lunch service at Bellazul


I notice the single brand of Chateau Gairoird Rosé wine on the wine list, which gives the impression that Bellazul is not so big on rosé wines. Nevertheless, I order a glass of this wine with the waiter, intrigued as to why it is the only option of rosé wine. With this smooth glass of wine at my side, I take time to look through the menu, my stomach already feeling like it is in Southern Europe.


My glass of Chateau Gairoird Rosé wine, with the glass water bottle


I come to my own consensus on what to order, and I place this with my waiter. With Bellazul focusing on Mediterranean cuisine, including food from Italy, it is bound to deliver really well with its Sicilian Arancini Rice Balls. Eager to find out if it does, I order this as a starter, with the main course being the Ravioli Di Gambero, Pomodorini E Zafferano. With the food ordered, I continue to enjoy my rosé wine while trying to rack my brains on how there were no other rosé wines available.


The minutes pass by, and my Sicilian Arancini arrives at my table in a very neat formation. Four balls of thinly-battered rice, mincemeat, and mozzarella are presented in a cast iron dish and topped with parsley and watercress. I cut into my first Arancini and can hear the crisp coming from the batter as I slice into it. The steam coming out fades away to reveal the inside, where the essential Arancini ingredients can be found.


Bellazul's Sicilian Arancini, from its Tapas & Cicchetti range


The fusion of the mincemeat and rice creates a smooth texture, and the flavours of the Mediterranean kick in immediately. The crispiness from the thin batter is easy to chew through and becomes more flavoursome thanks to the intense, thick tomato sauce. My journey through consuming the Arancini continues delightfully until an empty cast iron dish is seen in front of me. I am excited to commence chapter two of my journey through the Mediterranean, which comes in the form of a Ravioli dish.


My waiter removes this dish from my table while I continue to enjoy my glass of rosé wine. He then returns to my table with the foretold second chapter of my Bellazul Mediterranean adventure. Presented before me is an attractive black-curved plate, Bellazul’s Ravioli Di Gambero slap bang in the centre of it.


To begin with, the dish contains all three colours of the Italian flag, representing its respect for Italian cuisine. Five filled ravioli shells surround the pile of saffron and cherry tomatoes, which add to the flavour of the tomato sauce. A torn basil leaf is left piggybacking on one of the ravioli shells, with a small scattering topping the centre of the plate. Upon my request, my waiter scatters a small helping of parmesan cheese over the dish to contribute to the display of colours it presents.


Bellazul's Ravioli Di Gambero, from its Pasta & Soup range


I tuck into my first ravioli shell, and upon slicing through it, I notice how delicate the pasta is. The filling is packed with prawn stuffing, the flavour of which intensifies thanks to the saffron & tomato sauce. After making my way through the first packed ravioli shell, I continue through all of the other shells. I begin to feel full from this ravioli after reaching the halfway point of consuming this dish; nevertheless, I plough on, mentally envisioning myself in a relaxed restaurant setting somewhere in the Mediterranean.


I immediately snap myself back to reality after clearing the plate in front of me. I then have my plate removed by my waiter as I take more time enjoying the view of the quiet Blandford Street outside the window. I am then given the dessert menu which contains simple desserts made in-house. Eyeing up the chocolate fondant gives me an urge to order this with my waiter. He then returns soon afterwards to confirm that there are no further portions of this fondant left. Luckily, I decided beforehand for my backup dessert to be the Blueberry Cheesecake, which I order in place of the fondant.


The waiter brings my cheesecake to the table, and although it looks simple and half-smothered in the juice from the blueberries, it provides a light texture. While not much flavour comes from the cheesecake itself, the blueberry juice changes this dramatically as well as sharply.

Bellazul's Blueberry Cheesecake, from its Desserts range


After finishing off this cheesecake, I sense my Bellazul Mediterranean journey is coming to an end as my waiter removes the plate and delivers the bill shortly afterwards. My eyes do not pop out of their sockets in alarm, as it is expected that high-quality Mediterranean dishes come at a high price. Nonetheless, I settle the bill with my waiter, thanking him for three delightful courses before I make my departure from Bellazul.


Bellazul may be one of the newer restaurants that have been set up in London in general; however, it already delivers the promise that it can easily transport diners mentally to the Mediterranean’s towns and villages… Simply in the form of a fine dining experience.


It could go as far as saying that it will make diners want to purchase a flight ticket to Italy, or any other Mediterranean country, for real. I can safely say that it gives me that feeling for sure, thanks to head chef Simone Serafini. Not so much thanks to the only brand of rosé wine on the wine menu.


Bellazul, 43 Blandford Street, London W1U 7HF


Food Prices

  • Breads & Olives - £5.00-£8.00

  • From the Counter - £7.00-£36.00

  • Tapas & Cicchetti - £7.00-£18.00

  • Salads - £16.00 per item

  • Pasta & Soup - £15.00-£35.00

  • Main Course - £23.00-£36.00

  • Main Course to Share - £23.00-£36.00

  • Sides - £6.00-£7.00

  • Flat Bread - £16.00-£20.00

  • Desserts - £9.00 per item

 

Drink Prices

  • Cocktails - £7.00-£13.00

  • Beers - £5.00-£12.00

  • Spirits, 50ml - £7.00-£50.00

  • Soft Drinks - £2.00-£10.00

  • Hot Drinks - £2.00-£4

  • Wines - £8.00-£610.00

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