Some of the greatest pleasures in the food scene are to be found in places you’ve probably overlooked. There’s a joy in finding your way to beautiful and unique places and feeling like you’re sharing in a secret with other diners. Belleville certainly has this allure for us. It sits above a bank on Swanston and Little Bourke, you’ll need to walk past and down the alley. When you see the X you’re in the right place, just make your way up the stairs! It’s raw around the edges in the right sort of way. It’s a ramshackle sheek that means there’s always something to catch your eye. We wandered through until we found a table we liked the look of, pondering the menu and heading to the bar to order. We were momentarily distracted by a person with a very well behaved dog waiting patiently at their feet but couldn’t be dissuaded from our task.
The menu at Belleville is mainly about the rotisserie chicken, a fusion of American and Asian influence makes for an eclectic combination of flavours. We went for a wide range of dishes to get a taste of as much as possible. The pot stickers are exactly as described – little dumplings that really do stick, but have a wonderfully flavoursome filling. The fried rice we tried as a side was without a doubt some of the best we’ve tried. It was full of the good stuff – chicken, eggs and prawn. For a small serve it really packed a punch.
We also tried the chicken and waffles, a sweet and fried delight which retained a lightness of flavour with a hint of coconut. Finally a nicely fried squid but a relatively small serving size. For our mains to share, we selected the Asian fusion poutine and the lamb ribs. The ribs were a little sweet, sticky with a hint of spice. The meat was tender and juicy, just falling off the bone. We would have liked a bit more sauce and a bit more flavour to go with how nicely those ribs were cooked.
The poutine was certainly interesting, served with a grated cheese (no curd disappointingly), a chicken gravy and a spicy sauce. We couldn’t really make up our minds on this dish, the fries were wonderfully cooked but the toppings didn’t really work for us. We’ll have to come back and try their fries and chicken salt on their own and see how it feels.
Overall we were very impressed with the food on offer at Belleville but will need to return for a little more ‘research’ on what they’re offering.