Review: Bellazul

Bellazul Restaurant Marylebone London

REVIEW: Bellazul

Dreaming of summer? This new Mediterranean hotspot brings 365 days of sunshine to the streets of Marylebone

Words by Penny Clements

Bellazul Restaurant Marylebone London

Finding a meal in Marylebone has never been hard – the pretty streets here are packed with cafés and restaurants catering to all tastes – though with so much choice, guaranteeing a good meal is perhaps harder. But a new kid on the block promises to make decisions about where to eat that little bit easier.

At Bellazul, a vibrant new Mediterranean restaurant, the traditional tastes of Italy, Spain and Greece are combined with the warm flavours of Moroccan cuisine in a relaxed yet refined menu of flavoursome dishes. Lending an irresistible modern twist to the Mediterranean fare here is head chef Simone Serafini, who made his mark at Cecconi’s and Mayfair private members’ club 5 Hertford Street, earning a reputation for exceptional food, presented with style.

We might be moments from the bustle of Oxford Street, but the atmosphere here is more relaxed. The restaurant’s frontage is discreet – the only sign of what lies beyond is a small outdoor terrace, which is set to be filled with al fresco diners in the warmer months.

Bellazul Restaurant Marylebone London Food

There’s a Mediterranean aesthetic inside; bright blue painted walls contrast with textured brick. Glowing lanterns are paired with yellowaccented furniture to counter the blue and make the space feel cosy. And a long bar at the front lends an informal atmosphere. During the day, arched windows flood the space with natural light, illuminating those evocative blue and gold accents. Warm and welcoming (made all the more so by the friendly team), it feels perfect for a laid-back dinner à deux.

Our table is intimately tucked into the corner, overlooking the restaurant. Here, we settle in and begin to debrief after a busy day at work, listening to the murmur of nearby chatter and the soft music.

There’s plenty to tempt us on the menu – a range of large and small sharing dishes, pastas, and flatbreads straight from the pizza oven all appeal. We opt for a selection of tapas and cicchetti to start. Food is beautifully presented without being fussy: oozy smoked burrata with an intense aroma is served with rainbow beets and accompanied by a range of olives and breads; gambas prawns are marinated in warming chilli and garlic; and creamy baba ganoush comes beautifully presented in a sky blue bowl, topped with a sprinkling of greens and a drizzle of olive oil. Everything is exquisite.

Bellazul Restaurant Marylebone London Drinks

Up next, a huge dish of wild boar ragu with porcini mushrooms and homemade pappardelle. It has a subtle flavour with earthy notes and is comfort food par excellence. All plates are designed for sharing here, and we fight over every last scrap.

As tasty as the food is our wine, a Kalogeri Malagouzia. This Greek white is fresh and aromatic, with hints of peach and apricot, and is a lovely compliment to our menu choices. The carefully curated cellar here includes wines from across the Med’s biodiverse lands, with bottles from France, Portugal and Italy, among many other regions.

Innovation in London, where spoilt-for-choice diners often feel like they’ve seen it all, can be hard to pull off, but we think the team here have done it. And one area where we think Bellazul really excels is the drinks. In particular the unique cocktails – my partner and I, too full for dessert, opt instead for the refreshing Bellazul martini, made with focaccia infused gin, basil and tomato water, homemade Curacao syrup and burnt garlic – though it may sound controversial, it is the perfect final hurrah to our evening. A little taste of the Med served up in March.