Who would have known this little Italian gem was hiding in the backstreets of Chermside?
Bella Cosi, just a stone-throw away from Westfield Chermside, is a multi-award winning Italian restaurant unique for its modern take on traditional scrumptious dishes, served with a healthy dose of warm customer service.
The menu changes seasonally, promising the freshest product. And with the winter months approaching, what better reason to come and warm up with the heartiest of winter menu’s.
Some of highlights of the menu are the Baked Tortellini, an adventurous deviation from the normal boiled technique, giving it that al-dente crunch; Duck Lasagne, an unusually delightful combination; Lamb Risotto; and Garlic Prawns, one of the favourites – and rightly so. The exquisite Mooloolaba prawns are fresh, and are perfectly paired with the garlic risotto, where whole garlic cloves are left in their casing, waiting for you to squeeze them out – an invitation for some interactive dining, which everyone enjoys.
But don’t miss out one of the most colourful of dishes, seducing the eyes as well as the taste-buds – the Seafood Chowder. It’s strong, velvety and rich flavours are similar to a French Valoute (thickened soup), with muscles, prawns, fish bites, squid, micro herbs, served in a black (yes, black!) burnt leek cob loaf (made in house).
And don’t count on sticking to your diet during your visit, because the dessert menu is just as swoon-worthy. The choice is difficult with dishes like the red wine chocolate served with semifredo, a delicious hot-cold combination; double choc dipped biscotti, perfect with coffee; and the triple layered semifredo with wild berry compote and fresh meringue.
Also, the hospitality is second nature here. The owner, Tina, can’t help it. She wants nothing more to sit you down, pour you a drink, feed you up, and give you a taste of her homeland and the way things should be done.
Matt, the son, has the drink side of the menu all worked out. The wine list is created so that every meal has a counterpart wine, and it boasts of both Australian (and NZ) and hand-picked Italian varieties. If you’re lucky enough to have Matt as a waiter, he’ll be by your side in a jiffy, advising you and sharing knowledge about the best wine for your meal.
He also suggests trying the house recipe cocktails – such as the rum-based ginger and pear flavoured ‘The Sicilian’, and the ‘Italian Summer’, with amaretto and strawberries, that everyone loves.
Children have their own menu called the 'Belle Bambini' (doubling as a colouring-in sheet), with traditional pasta dishes, fish and chips, crumbed chicken schnitzel, and more.
To top it off, the décor has a contemporary charm, and is one of those places that gives you a pleasant surprise upon entering. Embellished with chandeliers, bold colours, and a mural of Italian café life to help set the mood, it is truly a slice of La Dolce Vita.
by Hilda Strojil