As part of my Christmas present I was treated to the most delicious meal I have eaten in a long time. Tucked away in Montpelier, Bell’s Diner is a hidden gem – and I still cannot believe I had never heard of it before a few weeks ago – sacrilege!
To steal a phrase from a wonderful friend of mine – the only way to describe my evening at Bell’s Diner is: “A taste sensation!” The fabulous flavour experience began right from our arrival – with tasty savoury treats of smoky popcorn and sesame seed covered bread sticks greeting us on our table. We were then faced with the decision – tasting or a la carte menu? The desserts swayed me to the a la carte menu (plus it gave me the added bonus to steal some of my companion’s chosen dishes as well 🙂 ) This is also turned out to be the best decision as we were treated to two extra dishes ‘compliments of the chef’. Number 1: An amuse bouche: cauliflower shot (I’ve forgotten the detail). Number 2: Shot glasses with sloe gin topped with an elderflower tonic foam and lime powder (a cause of extreme salivation – yum!) My dining companion was so excited by the foaming device we were on the google search on our return to try and find one – it’s something to do with nitrous oxide, that’s all I can tell you.
You’re going to have to bear with me as I have been a bit slack on writing and therefore having to dig deeper into the memory banks than one would usually wish but hopefully the food is still fairly at the forefront of my mind. I really need to carry a notebook and camera with me at all times (the phone camera just is not up to scratch!) Here goes…
For starters I had the delicious combination of scallops, fennel risotto with tiny drops of lemon puree, followed by melt-in the mouth venison with winter vegetables. I finished my meal with tantalizing chartreuse souffle with an unexpectedly delicious tarragon and chocolate ice cream combination. The chefs are pure genius! I found it particularly hard to hide the need to drool when the waiter cut into the souffle to pour in melted chocolate; and battled even more severely with myself to stop drinking the rest of the chocolate from the jug he left on the table. Great demonstrations of my self control methinks…
Throughout the meal I also stole bits of the goats cheese tart with beetroot salad, the pork (accompanied by the most scrumptious glaze) and the chocolate brownie – which I admittedly did make him choose over the cheeseboard as I could not decide between two desserts. Please note: this was the chosen dishes of my dining companion, NOT a random table nearby. OH! Lets also not forget the delicious choice of homemade bread that was delivered before our starter. The walnut and raisin seemed to be the most popular choice around us.
Furthermore, the service was faultless throughout, whilst also being incredibly friendly. There is no sense of pretention to this place. All aspects of each dish were described in detail on arrival, with further in-depth detail was also provided into the step-by-step process to making the amazing glaze that came with the pork! The waiter knew his stuff (not that we were testing!)
I cannot rave about this place enough – the most perfect evening. I’m just looking for my next ‘special occassion’ excuse to go back there asap!