Considering the saturation of the London restaurant scene, it really is no mean feat that a restaurant critic as unyielding as AA Gill regards Bellamy’s as a place to eat ‘once a week for the rest of your life’. Bellamy’s is something of an institution in well-heeled Mayfair, and it’s testament to its popularity that this discreet back alley retreat can draw in such a lively throng of diners on a cold, dank Monday evening in October. We enter through the shop, which is bursting with luxury imported delicacies, chilled deli goods and row upon row of Bellamy’s renowned stock of wines.
Epitomising the no-fuss, minimalist-chic approach of French brasserie dining, the dining room oozes timeless simplicity. A clean, cream colour palette, crisply-dressed tables and exposed wooden floorboards are offset by the arty swirls of René Gruau portraits dotted across the walls.
Beetroot Carpaccio, Soft Goat’s Cheese
The menu takes a journey through France’s favourite dishes: perfected national recipes, market fresh fish catches offering clean, natural flavours, and prime meat cuts. To start, we choose a dainty and delicious goat’s cheese and beetroot carpaccio with Melba toast: the prettiest of the evening’s dishes. Perfectly balanced textures and flavours are made up of millimetre-thick beetroot slices and creamy soft cheese, all offset by the crunch of homemade Melba toast.
Bellamy’s Fish Fingers
Bellamy’s gives a kiddie favourite a refined makeover with its fish finger offering: deliciously fresh and packed full of lightly seasoned, potato and fish-based filling, all encased in light, golden breadcrumbs.
Medallions of Monkfish, Piment d’Espelette
Sliced Entrecôte of Castle of Mey Beef, Pommes Frites
For the main event, we opt for gorgeously meaty medallions of monkfish with a spicy yet smooth pepper sauce, and a succulent entrecote of Castle of Mey beef, with pommes frites and seasonal greens as accompaniments.
We come into a bit of a quandary at dessert, as there isn’t anything that doesn’t appeal. Do we opt for Marina’s chocolate cake (lovingly crafted by the mother of Bellamy’s patron, Gavin Rankin), autumnal apple strudel to satisfy our comfort food urges, or the sure-to-be perfect tarte au citron?
Tunisian Orange & Almond Cake
Salted Caramel Parfait
We finally choose Tunisian orange and almond cake (an ‘unassailable’ choice according to Fay Maschler, who’s another critic to give Bellamy’s her rarely-inked stamp of approval), and a silky and light- yet unashamedly decadent- salted caramel parfait.
It’s fair to say Bellamy’s doesn’t do anything groundbreaking when it comes to cooking; but it does do classic, timeless elegance and stunning natural flavours, astonishingly well. The quality of the cooking, the Parisian brasserie ambience and the charming, genteel service ably carries it through to its reputation for fine French dining. Bellamy’s is void of fussy swirls of purée on its plates, teetering towers of ingredients, or ostentatious décor befitting the boutiques of the neighbouring Mayfair streets, and it’s the confidence in this simplicity that makes it so popular with its faithful clientele. Like a much-loved security blanket, Bellamy’s enveloped us in its warm, familiar swathes on that cold October evening: and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
18a Bruton Place, London, W1J 6LY
Online booking available here