La Bella Vitto, or more commonly known as LBV has been on our list for a long time. Just outside the heart of Sandton lies this quaint little bistro and wine bar.
We walked into a warmly lit restaurant with staff smiling as they welcomed us in and seated us next to the wine closet. The decor at LBV is quite unusual as it doesn’t seem to have a distinct theme. Each wall seems to be decorated with a different style, from brick and artificial plants to chalkboard with an array of drawings.
Other than the different decoration styles, LBV sure is lit for a cosy and romantic evening. Perfect for our taste.
We decided to visit LBV during Restaurant Week to see what they had in store for this seasonal occasion, seeing as they do pride themselves on their seasonal menu.
Starting off with a delicious bang. Say hello to the Cauliflower, almonds, parmesan and beurre noisette which was poured over all posh-like by our waiter.
We also got the Exotic mushroom tortellini with truffle, pine nuts and sage. This was a masterpiece. If you enjoy mushrooms then you will absolutely fall in love with this dish. Almost licked the bowl clean on this one. Well done LBV.
Both these starters were amazing. Plated to perfection, packed with flavour out of this world, making you just want more and more. Wish they were the mains, to be honest.
The mains were also quite lively but not as great as the starters. We had an Ostrich fillet with celeriac, fennel, raspberries with pieces of buttermilk rusks and black garlic. This was a really good pairing of flavours. The ostrich was cooked really well, very soft and tender, and it mixed so well with the celeriac and buttermilk rusks. That does sound like an odd combo but it worked so well.
We also grabbed the Champagne and Leek Risotto with walnuts and blue cheese, which, to be honest, was a letdown. Risotto is such a dangerous dish and this one sounded very exciting but each bite tasted the same and quickly became very monotonous.
Now begins the next 3 dishes which all fell into the category of dessert. We got a palette cleanser that really felt more like a proper dessert. Vanilla ice-cream in greek yoghurt with these balls filled with green tea and rooibos. Those balls popped and filled your mouth with their very strong flavours. We didn’t feel this can be classified as a palette cleanser though.
Next up was the real desserts. A Black Forest chocolate with berry jelly and plum ice cream. Very rich and oh so sweet chocolate cake next to an ice-cream that could almost be disguised as a sorbet as it had a hint of sourness.
The other dessert was the Tiramisu with coffee, vanilla and Kahlua. This dessert was not as sweet but kind of all over the place in terms of flavour.
Don’t worry we aren’t done yet. After this came another sweet treat. An ice cream cone filled with … and topped with candy floss. These sweet treats came in a jar filled with sugar. LBV sure do have a sweet tooth. Suffice to say, we were completely sweetened up by the end of the evening.
Our waiter seemed to be very new but this was in no way a bad thing. He was very attentive and kept on making sure we had everything we needed as well as clear the table in a prompt manner. It was only after mains that things started going down a bit. The dishes took longer to come out and finding him got more difficult, especially when we wanted to order a coffee to end off the evening. Decided to flag another waiter and order from him instead.
LBV Bistro & Wine Bar is not a cheap place, even though Bistro means “a small restaurant, serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting”. A 3-course meal for 2 and a bottle of wine and a coffee coming to R1000 is definitely not moderate pricing though.
The evening started off really well on all fronts, it just didn’t keep the bang till the end. We were a bit disappointed with the Restaurant Week menu, as it didn’t feel like the dishes paired well with each other and LBV did seem like a place that would be able to do that very well.
TTT’s rating out of 5: Food – 3 | Service – 3.5 | Atmosphere – 4 | Value – 3