Meat Lovers’ Dream

By Bev Jordan
The newest restaurant in the Hills opened its doors last week and The Meat and Wine Co _ Bella Vista is set to impress, offering a top tier dining option on the boardwalk at Norwest Esplanade. 

The ambiance is burnished gold, designed to invoke the experience of a boutique lodge next to a watering hole on an African safari and while the menu boasts a feast of Afro-centric dishes it offers much more than that.

As the name would suggest, meat is the hero at this upscale restaurant with premium and dry-aged steaks taking centre stage.

The Meat and Wine Co – Bella Vista is part of the Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group which prides itself on the quality it offers.

My colleagues and I visited on the first day the restaurant opened and were impressed with the attentiveness of the staff and their professionalism.

We wanted to taste a wide range of options and so the tasting plate ($59) was a great choice, offering Szechuan Calamari with a nam jim sauce, bruschetta, pork belly with a Japanese sesame dressing and Boerewors _ South African beef sausages served with maize pap and corn croquettes.

The selection was ample for the four of us and suited us all, including the vegetarian member of our party.

The bruschetta with Roma tomatoes, avocado, basil and parmesan on sourdough was both tangy and fresh, the nam jim sauce with the beautifully cooked calamari offered that wonderful umami mix of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty and the pork belly with chilli glaze was well balanced.

None of us had ever tried Boerewors before so it was a great inclusion on the tasting plate. The traditional sausage with the chakalaka sauce and croquettes was a real treat and felt like we were on safari in Africa.

For mains, we chose a range of dishes highlighting the variety that is available at The Meat and Wine Co if you are not there (as the majority of people are) for the premium and dry aged steaks.

Our choices included a Portuguese marinated chicken breast with pumpkin puree, wild mushrooms and lentils (a beautiful comforting meal), a harissa lamb skewer with chips (a meat lover’s dream), a harissa carrot and freekeh salad and a Monte grass-fed Ribeye steak with salad (melt-in-the mouth goodness). They were all generous sizes and more than filling.

Sadly, we left very little room for dessert. If we had left room we would have tackled the Grand Finale plate which features four desserts to share. So pace yourself.

The staff cheerfully provided extra plates and spoons so that we could divide up the creme brulee (with ginger snap) and the chocolate and hazelnut fondant with hazelnut praline ice-cream. It was fortunate that I had the lake to walk around afterwards.

The Meat and Wine Co is GO4 11, Solent Circuit, Bella Vista. Call 8629 8868 or visit the website to see the full menu at themeatandwineco.com. We dined as guests of The Meat and Wine Co.

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