Top seller: Livio’s Tuna Carpaccio (The Real Deal). *Photo by Chris Burville
Top seller: Livio’s Tuna Carpaccio (The Real Deal). *Photo by Chris Burville
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Livio Ferigo has upped the ante with his new restaurant Bella Vista providing a raft of quality, international dishes for an eclectic menu.

He opened the restaurant for evening dining just two weeks ago and I was served samples from the taster menu for a good all round review. 

Livio told us he makes 95 per cent of the food in this restaurant, from the pasta and sauces right down to the humous, tapenade and fluffy foccaccia served to guests after they are seated.

Welcoming us in with a short introduction of the menu, Livio was very wise to serve us up the Tuna Carpaccio — The Real Deal as one of our first dishes, warming us to the menu nicely. 

This was the most popular dish on the menu at his previous restaurant, Monte Carlo, and it is easy to see why. Served with a tangy Mediterranean salsa made with fresh herbs, the bright pink tuna was so thinly sliced you could see the plate clearly through it. 

As you picked a slice up, the transparent flesh just wrapped itself around your fork and then melted in your mouth.

Livio loves his sweet balsamic glaze, which decorates the plates of so many of his dishes along with a sprig of fresh parsley. I love the sweetness combined with the sharpness of the vinegar and it gives an effortless artistic flare to the presentation.

Next we were served a simple toasted bruschetta with sweet tomatoes and a nice crisp of browned parmesan. It was as good as any bruschetta with plenty of flavour and a crunch left in the bread. 

Wholesome

The Bermuda fish chowder taster came in a cute little espresso cup and the thick, wholesome contents were delicious. The red, not too oily but plenty spicy, sauce was brimming with vegetables and tiny flakes of fish. We weren’t asked if we wanted a dash of sherry peppers or rum — the kitchen takes care of that for you and the chef proved he knows best — just the right amount and bursting with flavour. This is a lovely winter warmer.

After these choices from the appertizer menu, we moved on to the entrees. 

One dish I wasn’t too keen on was the Chourizo Carbonara — a concoction that is quite a departure from the norm. 

I love carbonara for its delicate flavours and texture but with the spicy chourizo dominating the dish, all that was gone. There wasn’t a lot of sauce either — I like to scoop up the left-over liquid with a spoon after eating carbonara but the sauce only really coated the spaghetti. 

Chourizo lovers, you will probably enjoy this dish — I was just hankering for my usual flavours.

The Risotto Funghi E Salsiccia was beautiful — with a blend of mushrooms and a truffle infusion, it was filled with earthy flavours, a little salt from the Salsiccia sausage and plenty of parmesan cheese. 

It is a heavy dish — good if you are very hungry — with a nice, firm texture to the Arborio and softness to the mushroom. 

We were given the Shrimp Extravaganza Salad, another popular dish at the restaurant. Shrimp isn’t my favourite type of seafood, sadly, so I opted to try the salad only which brought together a refreshing combination of avocado, apple and cherry with a very subtle curry dressing. 

After a break, we tried the Lamb Chop Bella Style and it was so good I wished I was less full. 

The moist lamb (slightly overdone  for my liking — I like my lamb still jumping) came with a distinct rosemary mustard crust. The menu said it came with a pepper coulis but we just got a serving of roasted pepper. 

It proved a good fit but it would have been nice to taste the coulis. 

Last up from the entrees was a filet of rockfish in a delicate, creamy sauce with pureed mashed spiked with three lines of fried spaghetti — a beautiful presentation. 

The white wine emulsion with porcini and leek was the perfect accompaniment to this white fish.

We were finished off (quite literally) with a chocolate ice cream with fresh strawberries and a side (kick) of Limoncello.

The ice cream was so good — it was just a bought brand, I was told, but a very good choice all the same. 

Eclectic

Overall, this is an eclectic menu with many traditional dishes given Livio’s personal twist. He told us he is extremely impressed with the work done by Head Chef Raj who has helped him concoct the menu. 

The restaurant provides a nice, informal atmosphere and the staff — waiter ‘Gussy’ described by Livio as ‘chief pit bull’, Adam, ‘intoxicologist’ and Gordon the manager are friendly, funny and attentive and always willing to describe the food and drinks they serve you. 

Even the menu has a sense of humour — the Surf and Turf is listed as including “any meat… any seafood/fish ‘chef’s mood’” while Livio tempts you to try the porcini mushroom and melted brie with ‘Mmmm…’ at the end of the listing.

I have to say the music selection was a little bizarre by any standard — Bob Dylan’s epic Shelter from the Storm flowed, not so seamlessly, into Taylor Swift’s not so epic I Knew You Were Trouble. Hopefully just a little teething problem from being a solely lunchtime establishment into one that runs by day and night.

There is so much to sample across meat, fish and vegetarian with influences from around the world, with a slight lean towards the Italian.